Workers who filed an anonymous complaint with their union about the incident described the housekeeper as being in tears after learning she was not going to get vaccinated. She was among the first to volunteer when staff at the home were told there would be excess vaccine after residents were done that day. Dozens of front-line staff at the home had not been vaccinated when the manager’s wife jumped the queue.
After the incident became public, both the union and the company that operates the retirement home asked Ottawa Public Health to make sure the housekeeper got vaccinated as soon as possible.
That happened last Saturday, according to Charlene Nero, director of the legal department at LiUNA Local 3000.
“I now have confirmation that the housekeeper received the vaccine on Saturday.”
The case outraged many, especially during a time when vaccines have been in short supply.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson called it “despicable and deplorable.”
Nero called it an “abuse” to take a vaccine away from a worker whose job puts them at risk.
“They are the ones who clean up. They are the ones who are in the home every day. They are doing what has to be done day after day. In addition to suffering the slight of being told they are not important enough to get the vaccine, they are being put at risk.”
Others have called for provincial investigations into that and other cases of alleged vaccine queue jumping.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called on the provincial government to bring in consequences, including fines, for people who jump the line to get vaccinated.
The NDP wants to see a strategy to prevent queue jumping that includes: mandating who can receive leftover doses; requiring vaccination teams to have plans for leftover doses; and committing to investigating such allegations with consequences.
The NDP also wants boxes of vaccine doses to be divided into smaller batches to reduce the number of leftover doses. The technique was used in Israel, which has led the world in COVID-19 vaccination and was recommended by Ontario’s science table.
Ottawa Public Health launched a quality review at Stirling Park after the incident and said anyone receiving a dose of vaccine they should not get would have to wait until it was their turn to get a second dose.
On Wednesday, Ottawa Public Health said its quality review at Stirling Park was ongoing, but it had already resulted in changes, including implementation of a vaccination policy that identifies how staff are prioritized if there is surplus vaccine as well as the requirement that staff and essential caregivers sign an “attestation document” before they get vaccinated.
Ottawa Public Health said it would make data about vaccine uptake public once it was ready.
This content was originally published here.