Outside Montreal, healthcare workers face hurdles in getting the COVID-19 vaccine
MONTREAL -- Workers who have been battling COVID-19 on Quebec's front lines for almost a year say they have been facing challenges in getting their first doses of the vaccine.
“It doesn't move around. It's in one place and workers who are going to be vaccinated have to go to that place,” said Jeff Begley, spokesperson for CSN Health and Social Services, a union that represents more than 100,000 workers.
Begley said that while the hurdle hasn't been an issue in Montreal, it has been in some regions north of the city. Some healthcare workers have had to drive long distances outside of working hours to get innoculated.
“For instance, in Abitibi, if you live in Amos and you have to go to Rouyn-Noranda, because that's where they give the vaccine, then it's a whole logistical problem of trying to organize,” he said. “We're already asking for a whole lot of sacrifices from these people, so we can at least compensate them for that.”
In other sectors, workers are saying they should be moved up in Quebec's vaccination schedule. Gaelle Fedida of the Alliance des Maisons D'Hebergement, said people working to help victims of domestic violence need the shot to keep both staff and clients safe.
“Our staff is living and working all day long and has deployed enormous efforts since last year to be there, to stand by these people,” she said. “After one year, they are really exhausted and they are also fearing getting the virus.”
“These are people doing essential services that are entitled to be protected, to continue the job.”
A spokesperson for the Quebec Health Ministry declined to comment.