Optometrists ready to roll up their sleeves to help vaccinate Ontarians

TORONTO, Jan. 26, 2021 /CNW/ – Ontario optometrists are willing to step up to assist with the rollout of the government’s vaccine implementation plan.

“We know that the Ontario government is looking to increase the public’s access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” says Dr. Sheldon Salaba, President of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO). “Optometrists can help with this by providing vaccinations in-office or in vaccination centres.”

Just as Quebec is actively marshalling optometrists and other allied healthcare professionals to increase its pool of potential labour, Ontario can look to optometrists as an accessible force to administer vaccinations safely. Many optometrists already have had injection training as part of their professional curriculum, and those who need additional training can receive it through a course at the University of Waterloo.

“We’ve been training optometrists for a decade on the use of injectables here at the University of Waterloo and our trained optometrists would provide the Ontario government with the extra much needed resources to help increase access to vaccinations to Ontarians,” says Dr. Stan Woo, Director, University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science.

Ontario optometrists do not currently have the authority to administer injections. The Optometry Act would need to be amended. However, doing so would bring quick and easy access to the vaccine to a large portion of the population, including the province’s most vulnerable patients.

“Optometrists are the most accessible eye health and vision care professionals, and are available at the local level across the province,” added Dr. Salaba. “We can make a difference to help keep Ontarians safe.”

The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) is the leading professional organization, representing over 1,700 optometrists. We are dedicated to helping our members provide the highest standard of eye health and vision care for Ontarians while driving the profession of optometry forward. For more information: www.optom.on.ca.

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Brittany Blow, Manager, Public Affairs & Stakeholders Relations, Ontario Association of Optometrists, 905-826-3522 ext. 246, bblow@optom.on.ca

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