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Hamilton public health nurse fired, others disciplined for vaccinating relatives

Last Updated Mar 24, 2021 at 2:22 pm EDT

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Jan. 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Public health officials in Hamilton say a nurse has been fired and several others have been disciplined after COVID-19 vaccines were given to relatives.

The health unit says seven doses were administered to individuals related to a staff member.

It says the disciplinary measures against three nurses followed an investigation into allegations of improper vaccine distribution at one of the unit’s pop-up clinics.

The unit says the administration of the vaccines fell outside normal practice and the province’s priority categories.

“The incident does not reflect or take away from the instrumental role our nurses have played in Hamilton’s COVID-19 response,” said Jen Vickers-Manzin, chief nursing officer for public health.

“Nurses working in public health have demonstrated adaptability, dedication, and a commitment to excellence. As an organization, Hamilton Public Health Services remains committed to supporting our nursing staff to provide high-quality care.”

The city’s top doctor says any actions that impact the vaccine’s eligibility criteria will be taken seriously.

“The City remains committed to ensuring its vaccine clinics operate in a way that is fair, transparent, and in line with our approach to prioritize those most vulnerable to the disease – in accordance with the Province of Ontario’s Vaccine Prioritization Framework,” said Dr. Elizabeth Richardson on Tuesday.