In The News: “Part of the role of a paramedic is performing intubations on COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure, Myshrall said.”

‘They are at constant risk and must have access to supports and protections’

The Health Sciences Association of Alberta wants paramedics to be included in the first wave of COVID-19 vaccinations. (Submitted by Health Sciences Association of Alberta)

Paramedics are calling on the government of Alberta to expedite COVID-19 vaccinations for members of their profession.

They are not among the health-care workers receiving vaccinations this month, and it’s not clear when they will be immunized.

The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) and the Alberta Paramedic Association (APA) both say they are seeking clarity from the provincial government. The HSAA also raised the issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday.

Both associations hope to be included in the second part of the first phase in January or February.

“Our paramedics are responding to the most critical COVID-19 patients,” Mike Parker, president of HSAA, said in an emailed statement to CBC. “They are at constant risk and must have access to supports and protections to ensure they can continue to be there for Albertans facing a medical emergency.”

Dusty Myshrall, president of the Alberta Paramedic Association, said paramedics are put at risk by constantly changing environments and challenges with wearing personal protective equipment.

He said paramedics go from someone’s house or a long-term care facility into the confined space of an ambulance while performing treatments. Their patients often end up in emergency rooms.

Part of the role of a paramedic is performing intubations on COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure, Myshrall said. 

“We know that that’s a huge risk for transmission of COVID-19,” Myshrall said. “When we see it done in a hospital, typically that could be in a more controlled environment. Paramedics are doing this in a situation with limited resources, in an uncontrolled environment.

“Paramedics are increasingly at risk here with COVID-19 and they should be vaccinated.”

The province said with limited doses of the vaccine available, it is starting with those who are most vulnerable, and the health-care workers who treat them.

“I think it’s really important to know that the decisions about the first phase of vaccine were focused on individuals who were at the highest risk of severe outcomes, those who are in close contact with those individuals and the groups within the health-care system where there are critical pressures,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said Monday when asked about the decision not to include paramedics in the first wave.

Hinshaw said paramedics provide critical services and decisions about phase two of the vaccination rollout won’t be made until next year.
 

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/paramedics-alberta-vaccinations-1.5850967

Giving our members a VOICE in the vaccine rollout.

“There is a misconception that Paramedics are a means to transport people to Emergency Rooms. Paramedics play a larger role in the health care system and before excluding them from the first phase of vaccine roll-out, it would be prudent to consider the impacts of not having them vaccinated with their fellow HCW’s.”

“… Paramedics travel between multiple health departments, hospitals, LTC facilities, and residences in a single day.”
APA President, Dusty Myshrall

This letter is a long one, designed to inform gov’t about the critical role Paramedics play in the pandemic. APA has spoken with the Health Minister’s office and they are reviewing this letter. It’s worth the read!

Less Coverage, Higher Cost: Association members are safe from insurance cuts.

While one of Canada‘s largest paramedic liability insurance providers announces they will be slashing coverage for COVID-19 related claims and raising their premiums, the Alberta Paramedic Association and Prolink Insurance lock arms tighter with Alberta’s paramedics to keep premiums low and COVID-19 coverage high.

“Having stable and consistent liability insurance for our members is among my top priorities” says Marc Moebis, Chief Operations Officer of the Alberta Paramedic Association (APA). “In the middle of a pandemic, when paramedics are not only facing higher risks themselves but also under increased stress, I think it’s pretty poor taste to start slashing at their liability coverage and raising premiums”.

Liability insurance provided by PROLINK is included with membership for all Alberta Paramedic Association members and takes effect the instant any EMR, PCP or ACP becomes a member. This premium insurance not only has a full 5 Million dollar coverage for COVID-19 related claims but also includes a unlimited toll-free legal hotline, wording specific to electronic PCR’s and possibly best of all, the Association working hard to keep coverage high and costs low. “I (Marc) am a frontline paramedic helping patients every day, I know what it’s like for paramedics out there right now and if you are an association member the last thing you need to worry about is your insurance coverage.” 

To become a member of the Alberta paramedic Association and take advantage of this premium coverage, you can sign up now at the link below at a low prorated cost which will auto-renew January 1st every year at full price.