Director out at Orangeville, Ont. hospital after vaccine queue jumped

A director at the Headwaters Health Care Centre (HHCC) in Orangeville, Ont. has retired after having a family member vaccinated during a clinic intended for hospital staff, physicians and local healthcare workers.

The “unfortunate incident” happened during a vaccination clinic held by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health on Jan. 14, according to a statement from the hospital’s president.

The director’s family member was at the hospital that day for other tests, the statement said. They received the vaccine during a break in scheduled appointments at the clinic.  

“This was a failure in sound decision making by one individual, for which they and the hospital are deeply sorry,” said the statement from Kim DeLahunt, president and CEO of the HHCC.

The director has decided to retire as a result, the statement said. The hospital would not confirm the person’s name, citing privacy reasons.

‘Deeply disappointed’

The medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) said she is “deeply disappointed” by the situation.

“For someone to choose to misrepresent themselves to Public Health staff in order to jump the queue and gain access to the vaccine early erodes the confidence of the public in this important work,” said a statement from Dr. Nicola Mercer.

Mercer said public health has prioritized vaccinations based on the province’s ethical framework. Despite the situation, Mercer said she is still confident in the work done by staff at the hospital. 

“I …  encourage the public not to let the actions of one individual tarnish the important role the hospital and its staff has played and will continue to play in the fight against COVID-19,” said Mercer.

A total of 221 people were vaccinated at the clinic Jan. 14. Public health says it expects the family member will receive their second dose of the vaccine to avoid wastage.

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