'Critical' that workers hesitating on COVID-19 vaccine receive info: WECHU
Workers at seniors homes should be getting vaccine as soon as possible, Dr. Ahmed says
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's top doctor says seniors' home employees should be lining up to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible amid reports a significant portion of workers are delaying or avoiding getting the shot.
"Many, many people in the world are really eager and keen to get the vaccine but they don't have access to it... so it is critical that the people who are currently refusing the vaccine they connect with people whoever they trust on in terms of getting the information and getting their fears and concerns addressed," Dr. Wajid Ahmed said.
He added that the health unit feels very confident about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ahmed, who is medical officer of health with WECHU, made the comments in an interview with CBC Radio's Windsor Morning on Monday.
Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj said Thursday that a poll the hospital completed found 21 per cent of staff from seniors' facilities are either refusing or delaying to get the vaccine.
At that time, Musyj said staff had given more than 2,000 people the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The number of people vaccinated includes about 75 per cent of staff from all of the region's long-term care and retirement homes, according to Musyj.
Ahmed said the levels of uptake on the vaccine are not surprising given the health unit's experience with the flu vaccine.
There is currently no legal requirement for health-care workers to receive a vaccine.
Moderna vaccine arrives
Meanwhile, a second COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the region last week. The supply of the recently approved Moderna shot was earmarked for residents of care facilities.
"We're hopeful that we will be able to fully vaccinate all these homes in a timely manner. The biggest concern continues to be, is most of these homes are currently in outbreak," Ahmed said.
There are currently outbreaks at 20 long-term care and retirement homes — almost half of the facilities in the region.