Paramedics in Muskoka still don’t know when they can expect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Local 175 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents more than 85 paramedics working for the District Municipality of Muskoka, calls on the municipal and provincial governments to provide priority vaccine access to first responders.
Mixed messages from the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force have led to confusion as to where paramedics fall on the list of front-line workers waiting to receive the vaccine.
We’ve reached out to the District of Muskpka for comment, but they have not responded at the time of this article.
“Paramedics are a critical part of providing health care for the community. Our members face a number of risks in the course of doing their job to keep the public safe. Access to a vaccine would help reduce one of those risks,” said Shawn Haggerty, President of UFCW Local 175. “They should receive the vaccine now.”
Data has not be released on how many paramedics have received the vaccine so far.
UFCW Local 175 calls on the District Municipality of Muskoka to make paramedics a priority in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The employer has a responsibility to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect its workers. In addition, the Municipality has a responsibility to the people of Muskoka to ensure that their first responders are able to help the public.
Paramedics in other jurisdictions are already eligible or have received a vaccine: The City of Toronto announced on January 6, that 1,300 paramedics were eligible for a vaccine, and the Region of Halton distributed vaccines to its paramedics on January 2.
“Our paramedics are an essential part of the community. They are health care workers who take care of people in the worst of times,” said Haggerty. “Their work is vital and valuable and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be high priority for getting a vaccine.”
UFCW Locals 175 & 633 represents more than 70,000 working people across all sectors of the Ontario economy including health care, EMS, retail grocery, pharmacy, meat processing, manufacturing, and more.