Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 25, 2021
There will ‘absolutely’ be queue jumping for Ontario COVID-19 vaccines in Phase 2, task force member says
A member of Ontario’s vaccine task force says that there will “absolutely” be some people jumping the line for COVID-19 vaccines in the second phase of the province’s rollout but he says the issue can be at least partly mitigated by having more family doctors administer shots.
The Doug Ford government has said that it will prioritize nearly three million people with pre-existing conditions as part of the next phase of its vaccine rollout but it has released few details on how it will identify those people and verify their medical history.
That has led to some concerns about queue-jumping, which could ultimately mean that the people most at risk of a severe outcome from COVID-19 have to wait longer for their shots.
“Listen it is not going to be perfect. Even if we have primary care expanded and in their clinics vaccinating individuals where they know their patients and they know who would be a good candidate for the first part of phase two and the second part of phase two that doesn’t fully solve this problem,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Issac Bogoch, who sits on Ontario’s vaccine task force, told CP24 on Tuesday morning. “There will be some honour system and you know what this isn’t perfect. There will be some people who jump the line, there will be, there absolutely will be. This is going to be a challenging thing to police.”
The Ford government has provided a list of 24 health conditions that would qualify residents for vaccines ahead of the general public and has broken them up into three categories – highest risk, high risk and at-risk.
Bogoch said that he doesn’t believe the issue of queue jumping will be a significant problem for the province, especially given the fact that the vaccines themselves will become a much less “limited resource” in the coming months.
But he said that the government will have to find some better ways to verify medical conditions and may have to “rely on peoples goodwill to wait their turn for vaccination” to a certain extent, as well.
“It is being billed as an 11 out of 10 problem when it probably is a two or three out of 10 problem,” he said. (CTV)