Get the vaccine to more front-line workers

OpEd writer Andrea Eymann Photo credit: Andrea Eymann

The vaccines are here. But where?

In the first stage of the distribution, the federal government decided people in close living settings, those who provide care to seniors, adults 70 years and older, as well as health care workers are the first priority.

Most of this makes sense except the government misses the majority of people who have proven essential to Canada.

It is essential to get the vaccine to more front-line workers.

Health-care workers are not the only people on the front lines. People who work in the food industry, as well as transportation services and education are on the front lines and need the vaccine.

Not only will this help the Canadians but also help Canada’s economy.

According to Statistics Canada, in April 2020 the closures of businesses nearly tripled in one year. If more people on the front lines get the vaccine, then more people will be able to shop at local businesses to keep them afloat.

Pfizer is not sending any vaccines to Canada next week, slowing down the vaccination process even further.

Since Nov. 2020, COVID-19 cases have more than tripled, according to the federal government. On Jan. 15, there are 6,812 new cases in Canada and on Jan. 21, Canada passed more than 18,000 deaths.

People on the front lines with compromised immune systems should be among the first to get the vaccine.

When teachers get the vaccine, it will protect the children who will return back to in-person classes, according to Ontario’s Education Minister, Stephen Lecce in a letter dated Jan. 2 to Ontario parents.

The vaccine won’t stop COVID-19, social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing will still need to be in effect.

The vaccine will help slow the virus and protect more people if given to essential workers. If every adult older than 70 years gets the vaccine, then it won’t have a lot of supplies left.

If the vaccine gets to more everyday front line workers, it will protect more people who are 70 years or older then Canada can make a swap and have the food, transportation and education sector get the first dose and the seniors will get the second dose.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says between 2015 and 2050 the world’s population of people over 60 years have doubled from 12 per cent to 22 per cent.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, Canada’s senior population was five million. Almost five million will get the COVID-19 vaccine before the essential workers.

If essential workers get the vaccine first, the seniors will still be safe. The people on the frontlines in food services will know they do not have COVID-19 and workers will be safe to serve food.

According to the federal government, the incubation period for COVID-19 is 14 days but a person could be asymptomatic.

Canada needs to get the vaccine to as many people as possible as fast as possible but the idea of front-line or essential workers needs to include food services, transportation and education.

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