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After some really awful experiences today, I am looking to get some advice as to how I should proceed. 

I am currently a covid response volunteer at various vaccine sites in Vancouver. As a VCH volunteer, I consider myself frontline as I work face to face with over 200+ patients each shift. However I was denied access to vaccines several times because of “bad luck”. I was told I have to wait for any leftovers at the end of the day, only to be told there are no leftovers because they can’t open a new box (that contains 6 vials for 3 of us volunteers). 

As a screener, I probably interact with more patients each day than ANY of the nurses, and it’s disheartening to see how I was treated. I feel emotionally hurt that my health doesn’t matter to the organizers and to know that my health is secondary to others and I would only get it if another patient comes in so that I can be lucky enough to get any leftover. Yes, I probably won’t die even if I catch covid, but what if I give it to my family, or to the senior patients that I have greeted. My experience today made me feel like my health is at mercy of the staff and there was no empathy shown. 

So I have a couple questions if anyone could answer: 

Am I wrong here for wanting to get vaccinated? 
Do vaccine vials have to be used right away after opening the box? 
Should I let my coordinator know that I don’t feel safe seeing 200+ patients a day unvaccinated? 

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  • Aspiring-Doctor changed the title to Volunteers getting treated like Sh*t at VCH
22 minutes ago, Redpill said:

How many days were you denied a vaccine due to there being no leftovers?

3rd time today 

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What were you promised in terms of vaccination when you signed up as a volunteer? Did they ever offer you more than "leftovers"?

Not when I signed up but it was mentioned during the orientation yes. And as of this moment, I was not offered anything more than “leftovers”. 

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Hey OP, 

First off thank you for offering your time to help with this vaccination effort. I’m sorry that you haven’t had a great experience so far and hopefully things will improve as access to the vaccine improves. You’re not wrong at all to want to be vaccinated (nor is anyone who wants one who hasn’t gotten one yet). It’s tough being in that position especially when you’re so close to the vaccine and the people giving/receiving it. 
 

In terms of vaccines, once the vial is opened it must be used within six hours or else it goes to waste. If they promised you leftovers, there’s a good chance that they budget almost exactly the amount they will need for a day based on appointment and anticipated no shows and it truly might just be that you’ve been unlucky. I’ve been hired as a vaccinator and what they were telling us at orientation today is that the opening/drawing up/mixing of the vaccine is often the slow part and the vaccinators are sometimes waiting for extra vaccine, so it’s likely that they’re truly making just enough to satisfy the days demand. 
 

That being said, if you are ever feeling unsafe at your workplace, you have a right to say so. I think it’s fair to advocate for yourself on this issue as you are in contact with numerous people, most of whom are vaccinated or are being vaccinated. Not sure how far that might get you (as teachers, first responders, other frontline workers) are also starting to get theirs right now, so there are lots of “at risk” people who haven’t gotten them. But bottom line if you feel unsafe, or don’t have adequate ppe, you are fully in the right to do so. 
 

Hope that helps and I hope your luck turns around soon! 

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9 minutes ago, Raincouver said:

That being said, if you are ever feeling unsafe at your workplace, you have a right to say so. I think it’s fair to advocate for yourself on this issue as you are in contact with numerous people, most of whom are vaccinated or are being vaccinated. Not sure how far that might get you (as teachers, first responders, other frontline workers) are also starting to get theirs right now, so there are lots of “at risk” people who haven’t gotten them. But bottom line if you feel unsafe, or don’t have adequate ppe, you are fully in the right to do so.

I logged in just now to say this exact same thing. Thanks @Raincouver

Furthermore OP, I will engage in a bit of self-disclosure here but: there are people working throughout this pandemic, as Raincouver mentioned, who are at a high risk and seeing people everyday. In my job as a counsellor at a non-profit organization that offers free services, I see people who walk in off of the street, 75% of my clients are this way. When I volunteer weekly at a homeless shelter, I don't think to myself about if the homeless peoples are wearing masks and distancing (spoiler alert: they're not). Oh, and I am on autoimmune medications, but my specific biologic didn't get listed as one of the ones that makes me 'clinically vulnerable' (which, side topic, idk why not but I'm not the one who makes the call so whatever lol).

My point is this: you are absolutely within your rights to stop volunteering there or to speak up about feeling unsafe and to work with your boss on measures as to help you feel safer (for example, double/triple masking, using both a faceshield and a mask, etc.). I'm not sure what the situation is like where you are, but I also volunteer at a vaccine clinic and we were told from day 1 to speak up when we felt our safety was at risk. The very last thing your boss wants is for you to get COVID, believe me. Goes against the very point of the vaccine clinic existing, i.e. to help the curve bend back down and protect as many people as possible.

We will all get our shots soon, which is amazing for us living in a first-world country like Canada.

If you want to have a chat feel free to DM me. I would hate for you to receive hate here and on r3dd!t for expressing your concerns. The way you have worded your concerns might incite a little bit of hate from some people though.

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Hey! Most of my volunteering is paused because of COVID, but my friends that did decide to continue volunteering in the hospital during COVID were allowed to get vaccinated! So volunteers are allowed to get vaccinated but you have to sign up online under healthcare worker or something. I don't live in vancouver though but it is probably the same thing! You can talk to your coordinator and ask if you can come early and get it in when there is not a lot of people get vaccinated instead of waiting until the end.

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13 minutes ago, nerdy_unicorn said:

Hey! Most of my volunteering is paused because of COVID, but my friends that did decide to continue volunteering in the hospital during COVID were allowed to get vaccinated! So volunteers are allowed to get vaccinated but you have to sign up online under healthcare worker or something. I don't live in vancouver though but it is probably the same thing! You can talk to your coordinator and ask if you can come early and get it in when there is not a lot of people get vaccinated instead of waiting until the end.

Thank you. I have personally not been offered a chance to book any online vaccine appointments. I have tried numerous times but always been told the same story - wait until the end of the day for leftovers. I think what really bothers me is the mentality many of the organizers have towards volunteers in general. I felt unimportant and less worthy of protection. Now, knowing that many volunteers indeed got vaccinated as early as March 1st, I’m  starting to doubt whether it’s because of my race, or if I said something that annoyed the “manager”. It’s such a simple issue, if I’m not eligible, I would rather if they just tell me no, and if I am, then I shouldn’t be asked to wait after everyone else and only for “leftovers”. 

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