Coronavirus Canada: COVID-19 vaccine queue-jumping alleged at Ontario nursing home

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Coronavirus Canada Updates: Three deaths and 90 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Manitoba Thursday
Coronavirus Canada Updates: Three deaths and 90 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Manitoba Thursday

Amid a vaccine shortage in Canada, at least one board member and the family of some managers at a Toronto-area nursing home are being accused of inappropriately keeping COVID-19 vaccinations for themselves.

A health-care union claims a nurse was required to inoculate at least 10 individuals who were not care-home residents or front-line staff at Villa Leonardo Gambin, a non-profit home managed by Sienna Senior Living in Vaughan, Ont.

The union filed a grievance against the home on Thursday.

“I believe that they got the vaccine because they know somebody who’s a manager at a long term care home who gave them priority access to the vaccine,” Charlene Nero, secretary treasurer of Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 3000 told CBC News.

The union further asserts that one of the home’s medical staff left the premises with approximately five doses of the Moderna vaccine “for what appeared to be [their] personal use.”

“If these allegations are proved to be correct, this is just completely unacceptable,” said Dr. Samir Sinha, the director of geriatrics at Sinai Health in Toronto.

“We have so many people who are vulnerable of dying from COVID.… This actually means we’re wasting doses and we’re actually costing lives.”

The care home said the doses were administered to avoid wasting open vials of vaccine.

4th outbreak at home

The 168-bed home is in its fourth outbreak. It has lost 25 residents to COVID-19 since the pandemic started.

The nurse was instructed to record that the vaccines were given to essential caregivers on paperwork, Nero said.

“She was actually offered the opportunity to call her own family members in, who are not yet on the priority list for vaccines and have them vaccinated,” Nero said. “She declined.”

The matter has also been raised to both Public Health Ontario and York Region Public Health, which says it is now looking further into the matter.

It also says public health officials will now be on-site at a subsequent clinic planned at Villa Leonardo Gambin.

Board says vaccines were set to expire

A statement from the board chair at Villa Leonardo Gambin, Andrew Iacobelli, confirmed that the vaccine was “offered to non-front-line staff who work or volunteer for the residence … including myself,” but only after “all of the available staff and residents” received the vaccine.

Iacobelli confirms he received the Moderna vaccine.

“We further extended the remaining unused vaccines to family members of staff and volunteer board members, [who] are often present in the home”.

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