Union urging province crack down on “COVID-19 vaccine queue jumpers”


The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is urging the province to crack down on people cutting the line when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines.

Warren Thomas, OPSEU president, expressed concern for "vaccine queue jumpers" after reports surfaced that a hospital manager pushed a member of their family to the front of the line.

“The success of Ontario’s vaccine rollout depends on fairness and trust,” Thomas said in a news release.

According to the release, front line workers at Headwaters Health Centre in Orangeville were given access to limited doses of the vaccine.

The union is claiming, despite its limited availability, a member of the hospital’s management team ignored provincial orders by bringing their family member on-site to get vaccinated, ahead of those on the priority list.

“The province has prioritized high-risk populations in order to save lives. Every time an individual outside this targeted group jumps the queue to get vaccinated, they’re putting someone else’s life in jeopardy," Thomas said.

"That’s not fair, and the province must do more to crack down on rule-breakers if they’re serious about saving lives," he continued.

This news comes on the heels of an announcement that Canada's latest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine will be halved due to a delay in production.

“We’re already seeing corruption and queue jumping and we’ve only just begun,” Eduardo Almeida, OPSEU treasurer, said in the same release.

“We’re still in Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout, which should see only the highest priority individuals getting jabbed, but instead we’re seeing hospital managers abuse their power. This does not bode well for the public or staff’s trust in the vaccine rollout,” Almeida added. “And the government should intervene immediately and put a stop to this."

Additionally, Thomas criticized management for referring to health care workers as heroes during this health crisis, yet not treating them as such.

"It’s time for hospital management to show their appreciation through actions, not just hollow words. These front-line heroes deserve access to the vaccine before management’s personal guest list," he said.

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