College Ward Coun. Rick Chiarelli is clarifying comments he made on social media about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Chiarelli tweeted on Monday that his wife received her first dose of the vaccine at the Ottawa Hospital and said, "In our family, it looks like I will be next in line, then our daughters."
This makes the vaccination campaign seem more real. Today, at the Civic, Lida got dose #1 of her vaccine. In our family, it looks like I will be next in line, then our daughters.— Rick Chiarelli (@RickChiarelli) January 4, 2021
The councillor, who has been censured by his council colleagues following a report by the city's integrity commissioner into inappropriate conduct toward female staffers, faced some backlash on social media from residents who believed his family was being vaccinated early.
(n.b.: Chiarelli has denied the allegations in the integrity commissioner's report. His lawyer has filed a request in court to start an application challenging the integrity commissioner's jurisdiction.)
Chiarelli responded to some comments late Monday night with an identical reply to say that his wife, a teacher, is also a caregiver at a long-term care home. He added that he has a compromised immune system due to open-heart surgery and other complications. He then said that’s "all I want to discuss right now."
While my wife is a teacher, she is also a care giver at a Senior’s long term care centre, I have compromised immune system due to my open heart surgery and subsequent complications but that’s about all I want to discuss right now.— Rick Chiarelli (@RickChiarelli) January 5, 2021
On Tuesday, Chiarelli sent out another tweet, clarifying that he does not know when he will personally receive the vaccine and will not take priority over front-line workers.
"I would like to point out that as per by original tweet I said I would be next in line “in my family”. However, I don’t know when that will be but I will not be taking priority over frontline workers , LTC workers or seniors.... I will not be skipping any cues (sic)," Chiarelli tweeted.
I would like to point out that as per by original tweet I said I would be next in line “in my family”. However,I don’t know when that will be but I will not be taking priority over frontline workers , LTC workers or seniors.... I will not be skipping any cues.— Rick Chiarelli (@RickChiarelli) January 5, 2021
A statement from Coun. Chiarelli's office said the councillor would follow the criteria issued by the provincial government.
"The COVID-19 vaccine eligibility criteria is determined by the Government of Ontario and being rolled out accordingly with the help of Ottawa Public Health and the Councillor and his family plan to receive it when possible according to the same criteria. As indicated, Mrs. Chiarelli has received the first dose of her vaccine," the statement said.
The City of Ottawa is working to immunize residents and staff at long-term care homes and retirement homes in its first phase of vaccinations, but aims to have 680,000 residents vaccinated by Canada Day, should enough vaccine supply be delivered.