'SPOTS TAKEN': Warning about vaccine queue jumping sent to University Health Network staff


Individuals associated with University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto attempted to jump the COVID-19 vaccine queue by inappropriately accessing an online scheduling tool, a notice to staff says.

“Unfortunately, we have learned that in spite of very clear messaging, some staff and learners have provided access to the COVID-19 vaccine scheduling tool and posted links to the tool on social media and via email,” a notice sent out to staff last week by the vaccination committee says.

“The result is that individuals prioritized in at-risk areas in the hospital who were offered vaccination spots have had those spots taken by an unauthorized member of our own community.”

The UHN was chosen as one of the first two hospitals in Ontario to administer the Pfizer vaccine.

Provincial public health officials have laid out strict guidelines for accessing COVID-19 vaccines, with priority given to frontline health-care workers including hospital employees as well as long-term care residents, staff and essential caregivers, adults who receive chronic home health care, and members of remote Indigenous communities.

UHN spokesperson Gillian Howard said the notice was sent out to ask people not to share the registration link because some had either posted it on social media or sent it to others.

“We continue to ask people for their cooperation during the registration process and that patient-facing health-care workers are the first group who should register,” Howard said in an email Wednesday. “Eventually, as vaccine supplies allow, every person at UHN will be vaccinated. We have asked those who don’t work directly with patients to wait, which is appropriate.”

People are required to register and report where they work within the hospital in order to receive the vaccine, and there are checks to determine if that information is accurate, she said.

Howard did not comment directly on whether any staff members had inappropriately been vaccinated.