Many health care workers on front lines of COVID-19 still waiting for second dose of vaccine
LONDON, ONT. -- Many health care workers who treat COVID-19 patients are growing concerned that they haven’t yet been fully vaccinated against the virus.
The concerns come as intensive care units acoss the province continue to operate beyond their capacity.
“Everything feels a little more heavy,” said Amanda Dodge McLean, an emergency room nurse working in southwestern Ontario. “Then obviously it compounds and when, especially if you've had a case where we resuscitate somebody, and you find out later they're COVID positive.”
Dodge McLean tells CTV News London she received her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 26. She was supposed to get the second dose four weeks later, but the appointment was cancelled.
It’s now been 10 weeks and she still has no second date with the needle. She said she’s growing anxious, worrying about herself and her family.
“Forgotten, undervalued, scared, terrified at work. It's frustrating because you know you could be better protected for myself, my family, my 16-month-old son, my autoimmune disorder husband.”
According to the federal government, data shows the PfizerBioNTech vaccine to be 52 per cent effective initially, but becoming 92 per cent efffective two to three weeks after the first dose.
One week after the second dose it becomes 95 per cent effective.
In Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends the second dose for all vaccines can be up to four months after the first, to allow more Canadians to receive the vaccine.
But that’s not what was anticipated for health care workers, according to Dr. Alan Drummond of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians.
“It was to our great surprise and actually dismay, I think for a lot of people that, that we weren't being prioritized at all. It was like adding insult to injury, with respect, and certainly moral injury to all of us on the front lines that we weren't being sort of given our due.”
As for Dodge Mclean, she said she continues to treat three or four COVID-19 positive patients per day. And getting the added protection of the second dose of vaccine would put her more at ease.
“We need to be a priority so we can keep putting our patients and our communities first.”