The Star – Toronto groups unite to provide health care during winter surge


Naila Haji wanted her elderly father to get the flu shot, but without a family doctor able to come to his apartment to administer the vaccine, she wasn’t too sure how that could happen.

On Sunday afternoon, Haji’s 89-year-old father, Nurali Nanji, only had to travel as far as the lobby of his east-end building to get immunized against influenza, which can be deadly if contracted by a frail senior.

“Flu shots are really important, especially for seniors. In the winter seniors can be at greater risk for illness and those illnesses can sometimes be quite serious which can require them to go into hospital,” said Le-Ai Dela Cruz, a registered practical nurse who administered the vaccines during the Nov. 17 clinic.

“That is why we are doing these clinics, to help more people to get the flu shot so they can stay healthy this winter.”
Haji, who lives nearby and works in the finance department at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), said this mobile service is a big help.

“It’s the best thing. I was worried how I would take him out in the cold,” she said.

Haji said her father, who speaks very limited English, is unstable on his feet due to having lost sensation in his toes from problems with his spinal cord. Venturing outside during the colder months where her dad could slip and fall and get seriously injured is something Haji tries her best to avoid.

Mr. Nanji was one of several older Toronto Community Housing tenants living at 1420 Victoria Park Ave. who benefitted from a mobile flu shot clinic run by VHA Home HealthCare, which is the largest provider of personal support services in the GTA.