'Quit being jerks': N.S. lung transplant patient urges health officials to green light second booster
A celebrated lung transplant patient is urging Nova Scotia health officials to green light a fourth COVID-19 shot for him soon -- or he'll fly to Toronto and get it there.
In fact, that's how John Dennis says he got his third shot, and that the province paid for it, though health officials dispute his claim.
The 77-year-old received a single lung in a transplant operation in Toronto on March 12, 2021.
Dennis describes his surgery and recovery as "fantastic."
Living independently at Northwood, a long-term care home in Halifax, he says he has heard as many as half-a-dozen residents have been infected with COVID-19 recently -- a terrifying prospect for Dennis, who's considered the oldest living lung transplant patient in Nova Scotia.
His wife, Penny, died of COVID-19 complications during the first wave in 2020.
Dennis has spoken to CTV News before about vaccination mandates for workers in long-term care facilities.
Anxious to avoid the virus, Dennis got his first two shots in Nova Scotia as soon as he was eligible, but he was worried it was taking too long to get his booster.
The transplant team in Toronto agreed, so he flew there in September for a hospital appointment he says took all of 15 minutes.
"I had to go up in the morning, get the shot, get back to the airport, and fly home all in the same day," he says.
Because it was a medical expense, Dennis submitted a claim to the province and his bank account shows a $1,000 payment on Sept. 22, 2021.
Now, four-and-a-half months later, he's anxious to get shot number four, but says that's proving to be a problem.
"I'm immune-suppressed, and my antibody count is down, and I'm concerned," he says.
"I cannot afford to get sick and get COVID. It could kill me."
Earlier this month, Ontario announced it would offer fourth doses to immunocompromised individuals, but other provinces haven't followed suit.
"We cannot speak to specific circumstances, but Nova Scotia follows the advice and recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)," says an emailed statement from Marla MacInnis, spokesperson for the Department of Health and Wellness.
"Once NACI provided their recommendations on third doses, we moved quickly to offer them to eligible Nova Scotians, with priority given to those in long-term care facilities."
“NACI has not recommended a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and so fourth doses are not being offered in Nova Scotia at this time," reads the statement, which also adds that the province doesn’t pay for people to leave Nova Scotia for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Lung Association of Nova Scotia says it's been hearing from other patients with similar concerns.
"Given that this is a respiratory illness and these people are already dealing with compromised lung health, we can definitely understand why people are concerned," says Michelle Donaldson, communications and special projects manager for the association.
CTV News tried to verify the number of residents with COVID-19 at Northwood Towers Monday, but the information wasn't available.
"As independent tenants, they are not obliged to share their COVID-19 status with us," said communications and marketing specialist Murray Stenton via email.
"If tenants have shared that information, we have provided them with the Public Health guidelines for isolation and testing."
Dennis says he won't hesitate to go back to Toronto to get the shot that's available at nearly every pharmacy in Nova Scotia-- and he'll apply for reimbursement.
"That's part of my healthcare treatment, and therefore it is covered, and I'd fight them in court for it if I had to,” he says.
"Quit being jerks. Give me my shot and get it over with and let us live our lives in peace."
Atlantic Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Families are sharing photos and stories of their loved ones, who lost their lives in a mass shooting in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two adults on Tuesday afternoon.
Onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman's rampage killed 19 children and two teachers, a witness said Wednesday, as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a Border Patrol team.
The six candidates on the ballot to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada are debating face-to-face in French, in Laval, Que.
A news conference about the shooting at a Texas elementary school broke into shouting Wednesday as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke blamed Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for inaction ahead of the latest in a long string of mass shootings in the state.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled plans to appear in person at a Liberal fundraiser in British Columbia Tuesday after RCMP warned an aggressive protest outside the event could escalate if he arrived, said a source close to the decision. The source spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
Several parts of the country, including British Columbia and Canada's Maritime provinces, are likely to see wetter-than-normal conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather's annual summer forecast.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says it has now confirmed a total of 16 cases of monkeypox in the country, all in Quebec.
A jury in Portland has convicted a self-published romance novelist - who once wrote an essay titled 'How to Murder Your Husband' - of fatally shooting her husband four years ago.
Do oil companies control the price of crude? CTVNews.ca asked experts to explain.
Was your home damaged by the Ontario storm? Insurance companies say payouts could take weeks to process
The insurance industry says it could take up to six weeks to get an idea of how many hundreds of millions of dollars in pay outs will be required from the weekend storm that brought death and destruction to Ontario and Quebec, but that early estimates are substantial.
Police have released new video of a recent incident in which a vehicle was caught doing doughnuts and speeding along the shoulder of busy Ontario roadways.
People all across Ontario are getting creative when it comes to netting a secondary income, otherwise known as a “side hustle,” and many are turning to secondhand economies thriving on online platforms.
Those who haven't receive their bill by the first week of June are asked to contact 311.
The City of Calgary has recruited three people from the commercial real-estate sector in an effort to get a new event centre to replace the aging Scotiabank Saddledome.
After a massacre at a Texas elementary school, some are looking into safety protections against gun violence in Calgary's school system while mental health experts are offering advice for difficult conversations about mass shootings.
Quebec politicians were not pleased with the federal Liberals' comments on Bill 96 and Bill 21, firing back with a slew of protests and even raising sovereignty as the solution.
Quebec's public health department is set to give its first press conference on the growing monkeypox outbreak as the province recorded its 16th confirmed case Wednesday.
Indigenous communities in Quebec say the language law passed Tuesday will harm the education prospects of their youth and undermine reconciliation in the province.
Even though they cheer for opposite teams, a proposal by a Flames fan at Game 4 of the Battle of Alberta received a resounding "yes" from the Oilers-loving bride to be.
Edmonton’s School Resource Officer Program has received a passing grade in a new report that was presented to Catholic School Trustees on Wednesday.
Alberta's justice minister is facing criticism for "strange" and "remarkably unhelpful" comments he made in the legislature on Tuesday when an NDP MLA asked him to help fight crime in Chinatown.
It’s a sign that summer is on the horizon. Farmers’ markets are opening in cities and towns across the north.
Health care appears to be one of the bigger issues for voters along the North Shore as they get set to cast ballots in Algoma-Manitoulin.
A candidate in the provincial election in Greater Sudbury has been named in a $306 million lawsuit related to last winter's trucker convoy in Ottawa.
Two men and one woman are facing charges Wednesday after police say their vehicle struck a London police cruiser and then the suspects fled the scene on foot over the weekend.
OPP and Southwest Middlesex fire are on the scene of a fatal collision Wednesday afternoon involving a tanker truck and a passenger vehicle.
Jeff Ducharme was in his home office when a young man in a truck pulled up, ran up to the front of his home in Norwich, Ont. and stole his pride flag in broad daylight.
The Manitoba Government could turn to the military for help as it struggles with staffing shortages, overcrowding, and in some cases, temporary closures of emergency rooms.
The Manitoba government is hinting it may allow more alcohol sales through private channels to boost customer convenience.
Officers with the Manitoba RCMP are investigating after a 75-year-old man was found dead in the water near a culvert.
The president of Hydro Ottawa says "with a little bit of luck" power will be restored along the Merivale Road area on Thursday, bringing power to another 15,000 to 20,000 customers still in the dark following Saturday's storm.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board says all schools with power will be open on Thursday, but 14 schools without power will remain closed.
Out of the tragedy of Saturday’s storm, come stories of people helping each other.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $32 million in funding for long term care in Saskatchewan.
Saskatoon Police Service says that the use and presence of potent new synthetic opioids known as nitazenes are difficult to track and monitor.
A 48-year-old semi-truck driver was killed in in a rollover near Meadow Lake on Tuesday.
A teardown on Vancouver's west side has been listed for just under $3.5 million, a year after it was purchased by a numbered company for $2.5 million.
Things got messy at B.C. Premier John Horgan's constituency office Wednesday.
A B.C. family has trouble getting their chores done on their farm each morning because of the antics of a pair of unlikely best friends – an elderly miniature horse and a rambunctious young golden retriever.
'All it takes is one': Sask. RCMP partner with Washington police to publicize disappearance of Mekayla Bali
Saskatchewan RCMP and the Washington State Patrol announced a collaboration of efforts to locate Mekayla Bali, who was 16-years-old when she was last on April 12, 2016 in Yorkton.
A new art exhibit at the George Bothwell Library is hoping to examine and remove the feeling of shame associated with people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
For those looking to hop the border into Manitoba for their camping seasons, it started off on the wrong foot for Duck Mountain Provincial Park.
Authorities are investigating Wednesday after the body of a porpoise was discovered on a beach near Victoria.
Victoria police say three men were arrested after a random bear spray attack occurred on Monday.
A British Columbia company that was once at the forefront of the booming plant-based meats industry is shuttering stores and production plants as it struggles to survive.