Vaccines are not for health care workers who just want the shot: Dr. Wajid Ahmed

AM800-NEWS-WAJID-AHMED-MARCH-2020

The Medical Officer of Health for Windsor-Essex is sending a message to the community.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed says the distribution priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine must be followed.

He says it appears the list is being ignored in Windsor-Essex.

"Vaccines are not for health care workers who just want the shot," says Dr. Ahmed. 

He says the goal is to vaccinate everyone as quickly and as safely as possible but officials cannot ignore the ethical distribution of the vaccine.

"I'm disturbed by the fact that with the limited supply of vaccine, we are throwing away the prioritization list and are completely ignoring the ethical framework that is provided to all of us," says Dr. Ahmed.      

He says health care staff working in the areas of COVID-19 units, COVID-19 assessment centres, critical care units, the critical care response team, the emergency department and general internal medicine units are at high risk of acquiring the virus.   

"These are the health care workers who may have a high risk of severe disease or outcome from acquisition as well as passing it on to the population that they serve," he says.  "So first you have to belong to this group and secondly your function has to be critical for the health care system capacity to serve the population in this pandemic." 

Dr. Wajid Ahmed adds if there is extra vaccine, it should go to health care workers based on the prioritization metrics and not based on who wants it.

As heard first on AM800 news on Wednesday, the president of Unifor Local 2458 spoke out after seeing a post on social media showing a public relations worker from Erie Shores Health Care in Leamington receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Tullio DiPonti called it shameful and said majority of his health care members have yet to receive the vaccine.

In a statement to AM800 News from Erie Shores healthcare , the organization says  it is "following all guidelines and directives provided by the provincial government in regards to its vaccine distribution implementation plan."