Toronto’s medical officer of health is defending professional hockey players receiving COVID-19 vaccines before some at-risk workers.
Dr. Eileen de Villa was asked at a press conference on May 10 about how Toronto Maple Leafs players were able to get vaccinated when they don’t “appear on paper” to be eligible.
“Looking at the criteria, they do meet, they are eligible [for a vaccine] in fact,” de Villa said.
“Whether it’s through age, through hotspot, and in fact, through all the criteria that the province has put out thus far in respect of eligibility.”
De Villa also noted that the players have “work-related travel,” which puts them at risk, and that there have been COVID-19 outbreaks amongst some NHL teams.
When asked if other people who must travel for work would be moved up the vaccine priority list, de Villa said it’s “not a simple question of just travel.”
“The nature of their work is such that you’re up close and very in the personal space, if you will, of lots of other people,” she said.
“Again [they are] eligible, have risk conditions in place, workplace travel that is associated with the work. So, very pleased to see that they were able to access vaccine.”
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Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination plan currently allows for adults aged 50 and over, and those aged 18 and older in designated hotspot areas, to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
People with high-risk health conditions, such as obesity, intellectual disabilities, and those undergoing treatments that cause immunosuppression, are eligible, too.
Certain individuals who can’t work from home, including elementary school workers, police officers, and farm workers, can also get vaccinated under the current phase of the plan.