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Rollout of COVID-19 vaccine for non-patient-facing staff 'unethical:' Perth doctor

Dr. Alan Drummond feels there is a lack of clarity over when frontline hospital staff in the region will be getting vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccine stock
Coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech is scheduled to arrive in B.C. by the third week of December 2020. - Photograph via Getty Images

As Ontario continues its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, an emergency room physician in Perth is raising issues with how it is being handled in his area.

Dr. Alan Drummond says he understands prioritizing vaccinations for higher-risk parts of the province, but feels it is unacceptable to those working in hospitals that do not deal with patients directly in-person, such as administrators, to be receiving them first.

"It is unethical to vaccinate these people before you vaccinate a paramedic, an emergency nurse, an emergency physician," Dr. Drummond says.

The doctor adds, having staff members get sick and be required to isolate due to COVID-19 would greatly affect the operation of hospitals in rural areas such as Perth, due to limited staffing -- something Dr. Drummond says is not an issue in major cities such as Ottawa and Toronto.

He is also raising concern over the lack of clarity and information related to the inoculation timeline for frontline hospital staff.

"If we were all told, 'Oh, you're all going to get by March,' then good, then we know and we can plan accordingly," Dr. Drummond explains. "However, there's been a complete lack of respect, there's a complete lack of acknowledgement for our commitment and sacrifice over the last 10 or 11 months by this sort of paucity of information."

In the meantime, the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit announced in a statement that it's continuing Phase 1 inoculations in high-risk congregate settings and hopes that will be concluded by mid-February, despite limited supply.

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