Front-line health workers push for vaccine priority after some researchers, PR exec received shot

Front-line health workers push for vaccine priority after some researchers, PR exec received shot

TORONTO —
Canadian front-line doctors and health-care staff frustrated with the vaccination rollout demanded better transparency, communication, and prioritization as emergency staff in regions with limited resources wait their turn to get the COVID-19 shot.

“As front-line physicians, we see that many of our members, along with emergency department nurses, other ED staff, and paramedics have not yet been vaccinated, particularly those in outlying and scarcely resourced areas,” the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) said in a statement on Wednesday.

“At the same time as we are seeing vaccinations given to urban providers with much less or even no direct patient contact.”

Their complaint comes amid revelations that researchers, hospital staff on leave, and even a health-care PR executive, have been inoculated ahead of thousands of other health-care workers in COVID-19 wards and long-term care homes still waiting their turn.

The group is calling for more transparency around the prioritization and administration of the vaccines, noting a lack of communication that has left many emergency-care workers in the dark about whether it will be weeks or months before they can get vaccinated.

This is “increasing their stress while they provide acute care to the population,” the group said, adding: “It is not always clear who is making the decisions and the rationale for prioritization.”

Last week, a PR executive at a health centre in Ontario was widely condemned for “queue jumping” after he tweeted a photo of himself getting vaccinated.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a little over one per cent of the Canadian population, or 411,537 people, have been vaccinated.

CAEP said at the very least: authorities should provide a clear and specific description of which groups are actually given priority and why; those providing direct patient care to critically ill and suspected COVID-19 patients should get priority; governments and health authorities should ensure that prioritization guidelines are being followed and that those in higher priority groups, such as emergency health-care providers in regions where resources are scarce, get higher priority. The group also pushed for better communication so front-line workers have a better idea of when it will be their turn to be vaccinated.

With files from CTVNews.ca writer Jonathan Forani

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