Local paramedic says certain hospital workers left out of vaccine rollout

This article was originally published by Medicine Hat News on March 16, 2021. You can read the full article below or read the original article here.

A paramedic and board member of the Health Science Association of Alberta says only some members of trauma teams at hospitals across the province have had the opportunity to get a COVID vaccination.

Jason Soklofske says when a patient is brought into the emergency department, a trauma team is often assembled to provide medical care. The paramedics and physicians on these teams have already had the opportunity to get a COVID vaccination. But the laboratory workers, X-ray and CT technicians working alongside them with the patient are still waiting their chance.

Soklofske says it is unfair that medical colleagues attending to the same patient, who may already have tested positive for COVID, do not have the same protection a vaccination affords. He says health inspectors are also at risk, as they too have not yet been vaccinated.

The provincial government rolled out the Phase 2A of vaccine qualifications on Monday. Hospital workers employed in these roles are not included.

“Health-care workers providing direct and acute patient care who have a high potential for spread to high-risk individuals will be eligible in Phase 2C,” said James Wood, spokesperson for Alberta Health Services. “Alberta Health (the government ministry) determines the phasing of the immunization process, and more detailed information will be released prior to each group becoming eligible in the phased immunization program.”

Wood says decisions on who will be included in each phase have been based on the following guiding principles: Reducing acute care demand; protecting critical workforce; enhancing the flow of patients and residents through the system; and preventing COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Sequencing decisions should not be interpreted as a value judgement on the role of any particular health-care worker,” said Wood.

He says no one has been forgotten and AHS continues to work with Alberta Health on the details related to future sequencing and eligibility.

There is no date yet on when Phase 2C will commence. Soklofske says that is frustrating for all concerned.