Flu shots are expected to be in high demand this year due to COVID-19, however some ratepayers in the R.M. of Wallace-Woodworth will be unable to obtain one in their own community.
At last week’s regular meeting, Council expressed opposition to Prairie Mountain Health’s decision not to offer the vaccinations in Kenton this year. They have voiced their sentiments to Riding Mountain MLA Greg Nesbitt and encourage affected citizens to do the same.
Reeve Clayton Canart acknowledged that the province faces tough decisions in a climate of uncertainty but is concerned about any potential long-term impact of this action. “I don’t want it (the pandemic) to be an excuse to lose that clinic in Kenton,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me when you’re asking people not to come into big groups, yet you want to take 90 people out of the Kenton community and move them into someone else’s community for flu shots.”
Staffing has been identified as a primary reason for the move.
“They’re needing more nurses now to man these sites to do the screening,” said Chief Administrative Officer Garth Mitchell. “I think they are eliminating a lot of the volunteers that used to man the front end of those clinics. Now, they have to all be basically certified nurses who are trained in COVID. So that is some of the logic for this year but going forward we don’t want that to be the standard.”
Deputy Reeve Val Caldwell thought it was important for Council to take a stand.
“I’m sorry to see the flu clinics go,” she said. “I understand the RHA’s perspective, but I think we need to advocate to ensure that this is due to the pandemic and not just one more way that we’re going to lose another service in town. I think that’s the important part.”