Yukon doctors, medical staff welcome COVID-19 vaccine

Front-line medical staff in Yukon are getting inoculated this week against COVID-19.

'This is just one more layer of protection,' says doctor who received his shot

Dr. Ryan Warshawski, president of the Yukon Medical Association, got his shot just before the start of his shift in the emergency ward at Whitehorse General Hospital on Wednesday. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Front-line medical staff in Yukon are getting inoculated against COVID-19.

For Dr. Ryan Warshawski, that meant getting a quick shot 30 minutes before the start of his shift in the emergency ward at Whitehorse General Hospital on Wednesday.

"I think it's great. Just the other day I was in a room with a COVID-positive patient, so this is just one more layer of protection," said Warshawski, who's also president of the Yukon Medical Association.

As of Thursday, a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for physicians and high-risk hospital staff has inoculated about 300 people in Yukon.

Yukon's department of Health and Social Services says every front-line physician in Whitehorse has signed up to receive the vaccine.

Warshawski says getting the shot won't change his day-to-day precautions.

"It doesn't remove the need for hand-washing, social distancing, wearing masks and such, but it's just one more piece of the puzzle of defeating this virus," he said.

Warshawski says the availability of the vaccine is being welcomed by frontline staff.

Angela Jantz, a medical laboratory technologist in Whitehorse, gets her vaccination. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

"Everyone is really excited about this. And it's not just physicians. I expect we'll see high uptake amongst all frontline health-care providers," he said.

Another doctor in Yukon to welcome the vaccine is Rao Tadepalli.

"Big thank you to all health-care professionals for all the care [and] scientists that made the vaccination possible," he posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

As for vaccine hesitancy, Warshawski said he personally does not have any concerns.

"I don't blame anyone for having questions about anything they put in their body. I just think that everyone should ask the question of themselves: What information do I require? What is the answer I am willing to accept?" Warshawski said.

"The first thing people need to do is be open-minded and accepting of real-world data."

As he prepared for his evening shift at Whitehorse General Hospital later on Wednesday, Warshawski said he expected his arm to be a little sore, but that's all.

"Everybody wants to end this pandemic. This is about getting people back to work, and back to school and back on airplanes," he said. 

With files from Wayne Vallevand


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