B.C. Nurses’ Union concerned over reports of queue jumping during COVID-19 vaccine rollout

CHEK
B.C. Nurses' Union concerned over reports about people queue jumping during the province's COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

B.C. has been rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine for nearly two weeks now, but the union representing nurses in the province says there are problems.

According to Christine Sorensen, president of the B.C. Nurses’ Union, claims there have been cases of queue jumping, with administrators receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccine before frontline healthcare workers.

“Unfortunately what I did hear from nurses across the province that there were reports of people who were not at the point of care accessing the vaccine,” she said.

Sorensen says the priority right now should be those who are most at risk.

“We need to make sure every dose that arrives in the province is administered and put into the arms of the people who are at the point of care, providing care for our most vulnerable, who are at most risk of getting COVID themselves,” she said. “We want to keep every health care provider healthy so they can care for their vulnerable population.”

CHEK News reached out to Island Health and the provincial government for comment.

However, the Ministry of Health, who responded on behalf of Island Health, said in a statement that some “key outbreak response members” received doses of the vaccine, particularly those who are part of “response teams that go into long-term care to help manage outbreaks.”

The ministry added that more and more vaccines will continue arriving each week, and will be given to key groups such as those living and working in long-term care, healthcare facility staff treating COVID-19 patients, Indigenous people living in rural or remote communities, those living on the streets and seniors.

But the union says the problem doesn’t stop there.

“It is difficult to leave the patient’s bedside to go get your vaccine,” said Sorensen. “[And] being made aware of when these vaccine clinics are happening, when they can be relieved from their work and how quickly they can get the vaccine and schedule for the vaccines as early as possible. We do not need to delay for the holidays.”

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