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Doc claims province ‘bungled’ vaccine rollout for seniors

Posted: February 7, 2021

(February 6, 2021)

By: Sue-Ann Levy, Toronto Sun

A health-care worker prepares to administer a Pfizer/BioNTEch coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine at The Michener Institute, in Toronto on Dec. 14, 2020. PHOTO BY CARLOS OSORIO /AFP via Getty Images

A doctor who works in Ontario long-term care homes accuses those charged with distributing the COVID-19 vaccine of “bungling” the process so badly that many of the vulnerable seniors who need it most won’t get their first dose until this week.

Amit Arya, a palliative care doctor who works in GTA, said the date to finish vaccinating seniors in LTC and retirement homes with their first dose only has been pushed back, yet again, to Feb. 10.

“There have been many deadly glitches along the way,” he said.

He said the date to give seniors their first dose has been moved around quite a bit, making the whole process appear “very chaotic.”

Arya blames a failure in planning by the COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force from the get-go.

He said the government’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force should have but didn’t allocate the bulk of vaccines in the beginning to those in seniors homes, where the majority of deaths have occurred.

Only a small minority of vaccines went to them, he said, while others went to health workers, hospitals and in some cases even people who are not seeing patients like administrators and researchers.

“That’s absolutely absurd,” Arya said.

He said notwithstanding the procurement problem, the province had enough doses to vaccinate every long-term resident by the third week of December.

They put them “into the wrong people’s arms,” Arya said.

Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, said with the deliveries made last week and those planned for next week, Ontario has enough vaccine supply to “finish all” seniors in LTC and retirement homes.

She cites the latest statistics for Feb. 6 that show there are still 65,309 vaccine doses in the freezer, and adds that last week and this week a total of 90,000 doses are expected from Pfizer and Moderna.

She said the province really had enough vaccine to “do all LTC residents multiple times over” despite the Pfizer delay.“The province has just not been able to get its act together to roll them out, she said Saturday.

Mehra said the province finally vaccinated 10,000 people Friday after days of vaccinating just 3,000 or so.

She said that if the province’s task force isn’t pressured to get their act together, then the average Ontarian will be waiting years to get vaccinated.

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