Many emergency staff working with COVID-19 patients have not yet received vaccination against the disease. (Tempura/iStock)

ER doctors want vaccines for front-line workers

Emergency doctors in Canada are calling for greater transparency around the prioritization and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) says many of its members along with emergency room nurses and other staff and paramedics have not yet been vaccinated, particularly those in outlying areas with scarce health resources.

While these front-line workers are in contact with COVID-19 patients, they have not yet been vaccinated. At the same time, CAEP says vaccinations are being administered to urban health care providers with much less or no patient contact. Many front-line workers are said to have had no indication of when they may be inoculated or how long they will have to wait. 

In Canada, authorities in each province and territory decide who is first in line to get a COVID-19 vaccination. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Differing priority lists across Canada

In Canada, health care services are delivered by provincial and territorial governments. Each has devised its own priorities for vaccination. Some are putting residents and staff at long-term care residences first because they have been particularly hard hit with infections and deaths. 

CAEP is calling for clear descriptions of who is being prioritized and why. It wants there to be an emphasis on those who provide direct care to patients who are critically ill and suspected of having COVID-19. CAEP says there must be commitments that the prioritization framework is being followed and that higher priority groups, especially those in outlying and under resourced areas, are ahead of those in lower priority groups. And it wants adequate communication so that front line workers know when they can expect to be vaccinated. 

Our members and our colleagues on the front lines have and continue to step up to care for the sickest patients in our communities,” reads a statement from CAEP. Transparency, communication, and adherence to an ethical framework in vaccine prioritization and administration are the minimum they should receive in return.”


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