Whistleblowers concerned about staff vaccination at SAH

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Earlier this week a number of employees at Sault Area Hospital reached out to SaultOnline to express their frustration about not being offered the vaccine. Under the condition of anonymity, concerns were expressed about certain units within the hospital being offered COVID-19 immunization while others had not.

They noted that some healthcare workers at SAH work with patients and public on a daily basis, yet Algoma Public Health is working towards Phase 2, providing shots to the next eligible groups within the public before these workers were immunized.

Over the past couple weeks, Sudbury’s Health Sciences North declared not one but three outbreaks at their hospital involving both patients and staff. At Ottawa’s Civic Campus Hospital, seven people died from a COVID-19 outbreak which also involved exposure of dozens of patients and staff.

SaultOnline reached out to SAH earlier this week and received the following response from Brandy Sharp-Young, Manager of Communications.

“Sault Area Hospital is following the Ministry of Health guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccination of our Health Care Workers.

All SAH Health Care Workers (staff, physicians, student, contractors) were prioritized using the Ministry’s Prioritization Framework, which is based on the occupational risk of exposure, which considers:

  • Physical proximity and duration of exposure to COVID-19 patients
  • Nature of exposure (e.g. aerosol-generating medical procedures)
  • Criticality of role (e.g. Is there an option to work remotely? Is there an option to decrease functions, e.g. reduction in services during a surge?)
  • Nature of patient population in the department (e.g. Is the department an area where COVID-19 patients are intentionally admitted?)

When prioritizing, consideration is also given to workers that have patient contact across multiple departments.

Vaccine is allocated throughout Algoma based on the weekly supply received by Algoma Public Health.”

She also informed us, the first allocation of 968 doses in late February allowed them to take care of their highest priority health care workers who opted to receive their shot.

Our sources were under the impression that disciplinary actions may be taken if they went to the GFL centre and received a vaccination there. Sharp-Young assured us that isn’t the case.

“SAH Health Care Workers will not ‘get in trouble’ for accessing vaccine in the community, however, we are strongly encouraging them to get their vaccine at the SAH COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic,” said Sharp-Young.  “This will help ensure Community-based Very High Priority HCWs are able to access the COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub held at the GFL Memorial Gardens as many of our Community-based workers do not have alternate access to the vaccine.”

The hospital directed us to APH to discuss how vaccines are allocated.

Stay with SaultOnline as we follow the COVID situation and vaccination efforts in our community.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Many thoughts on this. All front workers should have access to the vaccine, and I include ALL front workers, grocery stores, retail workers, they are exposed to many more individuals than hospital workers, we need to keep all people safe.

  2. Are employees at the hospital tested regularly for COVID? They should be concerned about protecting the people that are ill, as well as protecting themselves. I have been told by a person that works with the sick that they don’t have to take a COVID test like the workers at the nursing homes.

  3. All hospital employees should be vaccinated if they want to be.
    Doctors and nurses or anyone in close contact with patients should have mandatory vaccines.

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