January 18th, 2021

Ontario under new orders as emergency doctors call for vaccine rollout transparency


By The Canadian Press on January 14, 2021.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. The professional group for emergency doctors in Canada wants more transparency about COVID-19 vaccine distribution. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA – Canada’s two largest provinces are now under significant restrictions to curb surging cases of COVID-19 and a professional group for emergency doctors is calling for more transparency around vaccine distribution.

Ontario’s stay-at-home order came into effect Thursday as the province reported 62 more deaths and 3,326 new novel coronavirus infections.

Among added measures is a requirement for people to wear a mask inside businesses and restrictions on the size of gatherings. All non-essential retail stores may only open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Premier Doug Ford has said everyone must stay home and only go out for essential trips.

The number of COVID-19 cases, including the new United Kingdom variant, are increasing rapidly in the province. But Ontario has so far avoided bringing in a curfew like one enacted in Quebec last weekend.

Hospitalizations continued to rise in Quebec to 1,523, with 230 people in intensive care. The province also reported 2,132 new cases and 64 more deaths due to COVID-19, including 15 in the past 24 hours.

Health Minister Christian Dube was expected to provide more details about Quebec’s vaccination campaign later Thursday.

The organization representing emergency doctors is calling for a clear description of who is being prioritized for first doses and why.

The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians said Wednesday in a statement that many members in areas with limited human resources have not been vaccinated, while urban providers who have less patient contact appear to have received shots.

The group also wants priority to go to those directly caring for patients who are critically ill or suspected of having COVID-19.

The statement said communication so far don’t support claims that the vaccine rollout will follow an ethical framework.

Many doctors don’t know when they will be vaccinated and the association said that needs to change.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021.

– By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg

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