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High-risk workers to receive second vaccine doses sooner

As recently as late April, all front-line health care workers at NBRHC were slated to wait the full 16 weeks for their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
2020 08 15 North Bay Regional Health Centre NBRHC (Gage Campaigne)
North Bay Regional Health Centre.

High-risk health care workers at the North Bay Regional Health Centre, throughout the district, and across the province are expected to receive their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine sooner.

Health care workers and others in high-risk professions will be added to the list of those eligible to receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier than the extended four-month interval, according to the provincial government. Eligibility and booking details are still to be worked out through the Ministry of Health and local health units but Ontario has targeted the end of this week for that to happen.

See original story: No NBRHC health care workers have received second vaccination doses

As recently as late April, front-line health care workers at the North Bay Regional Health Centre, including those classified as "highest," "very high," and "high" priority, were slated to wait 16 weeks for their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the same as the general public.

Those eligible for the shortened dose interval are all hospital and acute care staff in frontline roles with COVID-19 patients and/or with a high risk of exposure to COVID-19, including nurses and personal support workers and those performing aerosol-generating procedures. 

Also included (see full list below) are all patient-facing health care workers involved in the COVID-19 response. The move by the Ontario government not only applies to several fields of NBRHC health care workers but also to others in high-risk occupations — including, but not limited to the health sector. 

The Ontario Ministry of Health's approach to the prioritization of health care workers and the extension in early March of the interval between first and second vaccination doses from 21 days to 16 weeks — due to supply issues — also applied to local health care workers who have, among other front-line duties, been tasked to care for COVID-19 transfer patients from Ontario hot spots, support the investigation of community outbreaks, and perform COVID-19 testing.

It is still unclear how much time will be deducted from the second dose wait time.

Those eligible for the shortened second-dose interval, include:

All hospital and acute care staff in frontline roles with COVID-19 patients and/or with a high risk of exposure to COVID-19, including nurses and personal support workers and those performing aerosol-generating procedures:

  • Critical Care Units
  • Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Departments
  • COVID-19 Medical Units
  • Code Blue Teams, rapid response teams
  • General internal medicine and other specialists involved in the direct care of COVID-19 positive patients

All patient-facing health care workers involved in the COVID-19 response:

  • COVID-19 Specimen Collection Centres (e.g., Assessment centres, community COVID-19 testing locations)
  • Teams supporting outbreak response (e.g., IPAC teams supporting outbreak management, inspectors in the patient environment, redeployed health care workers supporting outbreaks or staffing crisis in congregate living settings)
  • COVID-19 vaccine clinics and mobile immunization teams
  • Mobile Testing Teams
  • COVID-19 Isolation Centres
  • COVID-19 Laboratory Services
  • Current members of Ontario’s Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT) who may be deployed at any time to support an emergency response

Medical First Responders

  • ORNGE
  • Paramedics
  • Firefighters providing medical first response as part of their regular duties
  • Police and special constables providing medical first response as part of their regular duties

Community health care workers serving specialized populations including:

  • Needle exchange/syringe programs and supervised consumption and treatment services

Indigenous health care service providers including but not limited to:

  • Aboriginal Health Access Centres, Indigenous Community Health Centres, Indigenous Interprofessional Primary Care Teams, and Indigenous Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics

Long-term care home and retirement-home health care workers:

  • Nurses and personal support workers and Essential Caregivers

Individuals working in Community Health Centres serving disproportionately affected communities and/or communities experiencing the highest burden of health, social and economic impacts from COVID-19

Critical health care workers in remote and hard to access communities, e.g., sole practitioner

Home and community care health care workers:

  • Nurses and personal support workers caring for recipients of chronic home care and seniors in congregate living facilities or providing hands-on care to COVID-19 patients in the community

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for BayToday.ca, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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