Rural health care workers are a vaccine priority.
I’ll be honest; I was taken aback recently when I realized that not all Canadian frontline healthcare workers that work in our emergency departments are scheduled to be inoculated against COVID-19 first.
I don’t remember hearing anything to that effect in the copious amount of pandemic-related news stories we’re bombarded with daily. But I’ll admit, that like many of us, I’ve had to shut some of it out to not get so stressed out by it all, that it becomes next to impossible to not be in a permanent state of anxiousness.
A couple of times a week, I do my due diligence and get myself back up-to-date on current data in areas such as the number of COVID-19 cases, where the current outbreaks are, etc. As well, I read some science-based medical journal articles on the subject.
I was really disappointed when I read the recently released Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) document, “Statement of Prioritization of COVID-19 Vaccines”. Reading it, I realized that there is the possibility that frontline healthcare professionals that staff some of our rural and/or remote emergency departments may not be the first to be vaccinated. I had assumed that the people who take some of the most risks to look after the rest of us would be a top priority—end of story.
I had assumed that the people who take some of the most risks to look after the rest of us would be a top priority—end of story.
I grew up in very rural places. Some of them were very remote as well. Quite often, there were very few healthcare professionals to look after the community’s healthcare needs. If we lost any of them, for any reason, we lost some or all of our local healthcare. They were, and are, incredibly important to the community as a whole. So, it is of equal importance that not only frontline healthcare professionals in urban areas be vaccinated but that their counterparts in rural and/or remote communities are as well, as soon as possible.
Quite often, there were very few healthcare professionals to look after the community’s healthcare needs. If we lost any of them, for any reason, we lost some or all of our local healthcare.
I am not a healthcare professional, but I work with a number of them on various healthcare system-based committees, councils, steering groups, etc. As well, some of my friends are nurses and doctors. So, I’m not looking at this from just an arms-length P.O.V. Every day, these professionals put their lives on the line to look after us when we are in need. Right now, they have the additional stress of doing so during a pandemic. They put themselves squarely in the path of the virus, more so than many of us have to. Pretty well everyone I talk with feels like I do ̶ frontline healthcare professionals should be the #1 priority when it comes to receiving the vaccine, regardless of where they live.
Kudos to all of them that continue to work on, regardless of the dangers to themselves. Hopefully, our governmental agencies will ensure that all of our frontline healthcare workers are quickly immunized. We would be lost without them.
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