Annie-Danielle Grenier lived a full life before the COVID-19 pandemic. She would attend shows and travelled the world.
However, since 2020 she has barely left her house. Grenier’s weakened immune system puts her at a higher risk if she catches COVID-19.
“It’s been lonely and it’s been difficult, but it’s getting harder,” Grenier told Global News.
Quebec is lifting more restrictions, including the mask mandate. Grenier claims without masks, immunocompromised people are more at risk, adding the government’s decision makes her feel like the community is being “forgotten” by the government.
“It’s really, ‘Well, no, we can’t do anything for the minority,’ just, ‘We move on without them,’” she said of the government’s decision to lift the mask mandate.
According to the province, masks will still be mandatory in health-care environments.
Thirty-seven-year-old Ryan Partridge is also immunocompromised. He argues the mask mandate was the best protection from the virus and allowed him to partake in society. Without it, he said he is “absolutely terrified.”
“I need to be able to access more than just medical services. I need to be able to go to work. I need to be able to go to the grocery store. I need to be able to access other governmental services,” said Ryan Partridge.
He added that the “government’s policies seem to assume that all immunocompromised people out there are old, retired — practically on their deathbed. That all they ever do is go to medical appointments.”
According to INSPQ data from 2020, about three per cent of adults in Quebec are immunocompromised.
Pharmacist Daron Basmadjian told Global News, “There’s tons of immunocompromised people who are young, old, functioning in society. There are people who are your doctors, there are people who are your pharmacist or people who are your teachers. There are people who are students.”
He opened his pharmacy an extra day to provide a safe vaccination space for patients with medical conditions. He said the government should implement new public health measures to protect these people.
“We need to cater to them to a certain extent because these are people that have, as we mentioned before, have no choice. They’re not choosing to be immunocompromised, they are immunocompromised,” he said.
Basmadjian and Grenier created a petition to influence the government to implement some ways high-risk Quebecers can be safe, without having to chose between staying at home or risking their lives.
“It’s not even that I want to do fun stuff, it’s just essential stuff,” said Grenier.
A look at the pros and cons of lifting COVID-19 restrictions in Quebec
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