The Saskatchewan government continues to reject public demands for all health care workers in the province to be prioritized for vaccination against COVID-19. Employees at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, who care for some of the province’s most vulnerable patients, are excluded from phase 2 of the vaccine rollout, meaning they will be vaccinated at the same rate as the general public.
In early March, SGEU, SEIU-West, and CUPE issued a joint statement calling on Premier Scott Moe to reverse his government’s decision to prioritize vaccines for only certain select health care workers. “When we asked the government to include all healthcare workers in their vaccination plan, we meant all healthcare workers,” said Tracey Sauer, Chair of the SGEU Health Providers Bargaining Committee.
Two weeks ago, Health Minister Paul Merriman condemned healthcare workers for not getting vaccinated sooner.
“How can our government blame us for not getting vaccinated when we’re not even eligible?” asked Genny Goodyear, co-chair of SGEU Local 3042’s negotiating committee, which represents employees at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency.
Cancer patients who are undergoing therapy are included in Phase 2 of the province’s vaccine rollout – but not the individuals that care for them.
“Our members at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency should be a priority,” said Goodyear. “Although our patients are eligible to be vaccinated, many are still going through cancer treatment and are extremely susceptible to COVID-19. Until we are vaccinated, we are putting them at unnecessary risk every day.”
SGEU represents over 700 Cancer Agency employees, including radiation therapists, oncology pharmacists, and registered nurses.
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