Groups urge Ontario government to give health-care workers 2nd COVID-19 vaccine dose

TORONTO — Groups representing thousands of health-care workers say their members need to be prioritized for full immunization from COVID-19 as they work with patients hospitalized with the virus.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, Canadian Union of Public Employees, and Service Employees International Union say they have asked the province to accelerate second doses for the workers but have received no commitment.

Read more:
Ontario may shorten COVID-19 vaccine interval, looking into mixing 1st and 2nd doses

Health-care workers were amongst the initial groups to be prioritized for a first dose of the shot.

Since Ontario’s vaccine effort began, however, the province has extended dosing intervals for COVID-19 shots from 21 days to four months due to supply shortages.

The group representing the health-care workers say the government needs to ensure the employees get second doses soon because they remain at risk when working with patients who have more transmissible COVID-19 variants.

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A spokeswoman for the health minister says as the province receives more vaccines it may eventually be able to shorten the dosing interval for all Ontarians.

Meanwhile, people aged 50 and older across Ontario are among a number of new groups who can now book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment provincewide.

Read more:
More groups eligible to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Ontario

The government announced Wednesday that the 50-and-older age group, in addition to those with high-risk health conditions, and a number of employees who cannot work from home are now eligible to get the shot.

The newly eligible workers include those in the education, child-care, food and manufacturing sectors.

Ontario says it expects 65 per cent of adults to have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May.

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© 2021 The Canadian Press

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