MEDIA RELEASE - COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout for Ontario Paramedics
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Toronto (December 31, 2020) - The Ontario Paramedic Association (OPA) is asking the Government of Ontario and the COVID-19 Task Force to prioritize paramedics in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout with a strategic focus on Community Paramedics receiving the vaccine first.
The OPA has been engaging with the government to obtain further clarity as to when paramedics would receive the vaccine and their role in the vaccine deployment. Ontario paramedics are highly skilled and trained health care workers that are mobile and ready to assist the government in administering this vaccine to the Ontario public.
General (Ret'd) Rick Hillier and Dr. Dirk Huyer clarified paramedics, as critical health care workers, would be bumped-up to Phase 1 of the rollout. The OPA recognizes the number of available vaccines is limited and as such, priority must be given to immunocompromised patients, vulnerable populations and those health care workers without the necessary PPE.
Community Paramedics have had an instrumental role at COVID testing sites and will continue to play an important part in the administration of the COVID vaccine. Therefore, the OPA is asking government to specifically prioritize Community Paramedics who are uniquely positioned to vaccinate vulnerable populations so paramedics responding to 9-1-1 calls in high-risk settings can be assured patients who are most at risk of “contracting and communicating COVID-19” will already have acquired immunity.
“We are encouraged the Ontario Government has bumped-up Ontario Paramedics to Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout,” said OPA President Darryl Wilton. “However, more must be done to ensure Community Paramedics are prioritized in the vaccine queue. We know these key members of paramedic services across Ontario have demonstrated a high impact on COVID-19 testing, deal directly with vulnerable populations and work diligently in outbreak settings. Any paramedics being considered to give the vaccine, should first get the vaccine. The OPA understands the ethical framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution is important, and based on these principles, early vaccination of all Ontario Paramedics will further enable us to be more available for your loved ones in settings where people need access to emergency health care.”
Ontarians trust that a paramedic will respond whenever they experience a medical emergency. Regardless of the hardships Ontario Paramedics have faced during COVID-19, we have reliably and safely treated patients throughout this pandemic and we will continue to be there for our province during this time of need.
For further information:
Director of Policy & Government Relations