A long-term care home in Vaughan, Ont. says it gave some of its COVID-19 vaccine doses to non-frontline staff and relatives of board members last month, prompting a nurse ordered to administer the shots to complain to their union.
Charlene Nero, a legal director at LiUNA local 3000 which represents some staff at the home, told CP24 a nurse alleged in a grievance filed last week that they were asked to give COVID-19 vaccines to 10 people at the home who were neither residents nor frontline staff.
A spokesperson for Villa Leonardo Gambin’s board of directors confirmed to CTV News that shots were “offered to non-frontline staff who work or volunteer for the residence and specific family members of staff and volunteer board members,” sometime in mid-January.
“We took all steps possible to ensure team members and residents were offered and encouraged to take the vaccine before deciding to provide it to others.”
The spokesperson said Villa Leonardo Gambin is also investigating an allegation that an unknown number of Moderna doses sent to the home in mid-January were “removed from the residence” and administered elsewhere.
They said they were following existing practice in Ontario that shots should be given to whoever is able to receive them before they expire if they are at risk of going to waste, a concept the head of Ontario’s vaccine distribution task force described as “speed trumps perfection.”
The desire to avoid waste has seen a variety of non-frontline workers vaguely associated with the healthcare sector receive COVID-19 vaccines, including IT workers at a Toronto hospital, dental workers who were inadvertently advised of a mass vaccination clinic at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and executives of an Essex County, Ont. Healthcare system that who regularly work from home.
More than 379,000 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario so far, but the shots remain a tremendously precious commodity.
Ontario’s existing vaccination plan, even if much-publicized supply delays do not persist, will not allow ordinary members of the general public under the age of 60 to receive a vaccine dose until at least summer 2021.
Leonardo Villa Gambin is currently under a voluntary management agreement with Mackenzie Health.
It says 16 of its residents have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020.