December 2nd, 2020

// Doctors recommend health-care workers, first responders, LTC be first to receive COVID vaccine

Doctors recommend health-care workers, first responders, LTC be first to receive COVID vaccine

TORONTO, Dec. 2, 2020 /CNW/ - Supplies of COVID-19 vaccines will likely be limited and staggered for several months after receiving Health Canada approval.  Difficult decisions will have to be made about who gets the first vaccines. 

Ontario's doctors recommend that those at highest risk of contracting COVID-19 should be vaccinated in the first phase, including physicians and other health-care workers, as well as older adults living in long-term care or retirement facilities. 

Physicians and other health-care workers experience significantly higher than average exposure to COVID-19. As of Nov. 26, 9,037 health sector workers had contracted COVID-19, almost 10 per cent of the total number of confirmed cases in Ontario. 

Health-care workers need to remain healthy both to care for COVID patients and to continue clearing the pandemic deficit of delayed and deferred health-care services.

"When front-line health-care workers catch COVID, who will take care of everyone else?" asked Dr. Samantha Hill, president of the Ontario Medical Association. "You don't send soldiers to war without defences. You don't send firefighters into a fire without all the protection you can muster.  When there was no vaccine, doctors did what we had to do to so we could care for our patients, but many personal support workers, nurses, doctors and other front-line workers paid a high price. We must learn from the last year, and from the world.  When health-care systems and workers are overwhelmed, the mortality from COVID rises exponentially. We cannot allow that to happen."

Other groups of people who need to be prioritized for receiving the vacation in subsequent phases include:

  • Critical infrastructure workers at high risk of exposure (people who work in transit, grocery stores and food production) 
  • Teachers and school staff 
  • People living in shelters, group homes, prisons, or similar communal living facilities as well as their staff 
  • All older adults not included in Phase 1

"We're encouraged that several vaccines appear close to being approved, but it's critical that planning and related communications begin now, so we are ready to start administering them as soon as they become available," said OMA CEO Allan. "Ontario's doctors will work with the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force to ensure the ethical, timely and effective distribution of COVID vaccines in Ontario."

About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario's 43,000-plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario's health-care system.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association


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