A New Brunswick woman is raising concerns about front-line medical students not receiving COVID-19 vaccinations before their practical training.
Nicole Giddens McQuade of Riverview, N.B, has a daughter training to become a paramedic at Oulton College in Moncton. She requested that her daughter’s name not be used in the story.
Giddens McQuade said her daughter has had three weeks of in-hospital training and is halfway through twelve weeks of her paramedic preceptorship.
She has not received a COVID-19 vaccination.
Giddens McQuade said her daughter knows “for sure” she has been involved with at least two COVID-positive patients.
“Every patient that she goes in to see has the potential of being a COVID patient,” Giddens McQuade said.
“If she doesn’t have her vaccine and everyone else does, it’s putting her at risk. Not to mention all the other patients she’s going to be seeing throughout her preceptorship if she does not have her vaccination.”
Giddens McQuade called Ambulance New Brunswick, who directed her to contact Oulton College.
She said the college told her it had been working since November to provide New Brunswick public health with student lists and other information so that they could be notified when vaccines were made available.
Giddens McQuade said public health told her her daughter can register online for a vaccination appointment as a health-care worker. But she said she’s concerned because she got answers to vaccination questions before the school did.
“Somebody does need to be held accountable for this because we are putting these students at risk every time they’re out there,” she said.
Oulton College Director of Operations and Human Resources Patricia Worthington-LeBlanc said students are not required to be vaccinated to participate in clinical work.
But she said the school has been advocating to public health and other professional bodies to ensure students are not forgotten in the vaccination process.
“Many students have already received their vaccines,” Worthington-LeBlanc said. “In other professions it has taken a little bit longer, though we are seeing that all students at this point are being contacted.
“In fact our paramedics (students) were contacted today to advise as to the process for how they can obtain those vaccinations.”
Global News received a statement from the Department of Health late Friday.
“Students who work with patients in a clinical acute-care setting through a preceptorship program are eligible to register for vaccination under the Health Care Workers category,” said spokesman Shawn Berry.
“Students were included at the time that those groups were invited to clinics, but students who were in classroom instruction at that time were not eligible.”
Giddens McQuade said her daughter is due to be vaccinated April 17.
She said she’s happy the vaccination is scheduled, but said she’s disappointed that her daughter’s preceptorship will be almost completed by the time the vaccine reaches peak effectiveness.