A Maltese woman with chronic illnesses said she had to leave Mater Dei’s vaccine queue out of fear for her life.
Michela Camilleri, a 24-year-old with lupus and fibromyalgia, told Lovin Malta that she was made to wait for three hours in a queue of hundreds of people, with little ventilation.
“I have spent a year being more than careful, spending all my time inside, in social isolation not to get COVID-19. Having lupus means that my immune system is haywire and the virus could be fatal for me,” she explained.
“It shouldn’t be that waiting for the vaccine is where I felt my life was most at risk.”
Camilleri’s second vaccine appointment was scheduled for late morning on Monday. When she arrived, she found long winding queues with few windows and little social distancing.
“My nightmare came true yesterday. I have full body arthritis, fibromyalgia and lupus, so any sickness affects me exponentially more than your average person. I can’t even be in the sun, so being exposed in Mater Dei’s hall like that with no open windows, was gobsmacking,” she continued.
After waiting anxiously in the crowd and not wanting to miss her chance to be fully vaccinated, Camilleri returned home to rest and come back an hour later, where she had to wait for under 2 hours just the same. The crowds had dwindled and she received her second shot of Pfizer.
“I’m speaking out because these things just shouldn’t happen. For my first jab, all patients with lupus and other autoimmune deficiency disorders were grouped together and that was ideal. I fell very ill after, but it was expected. This time, it was the lead up to the vaccine that was the worst part: being made to wait for hours with a mix of people,” she said.
The 24-year-old stressed that while she supports health authorities in the fight against COVID-19, logistics could be a matter of life and death for people with chronic illnesses.
“Just because you can’t see my illness doesn’t mean I’m not vulnerable,” she finished.
In reaction to the video, Malta’s Health Ministry has urged people to stick to the times of their vaccine appointments.
“We urge everyone to arrive just 15 minutes prior to their appointment to avoid such queues,” they told Lovin Malta, adding that social distancing is key to keep everyone protected.
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