December 21, 2021

COVID-19 BOOSTER: LETTER TO PREMIER FUREY, DR. FITZGERALD AND MINISTER HAGGIE

Dear Premier Furey, Dr. Fitzgerald and Minister Haggie:

The Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland and Labrador (RNU) remains grateful for your leadership and commitment to the health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as we continue to face this pandemic.

As a high risk group, health care workers are anxious to follow public health guidance and receive booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Providing booster protection to health care workers is critical to protecting the remaining integrity of our health care system.

Registered nurses remain on the frontlines of this pandemic. By doing so they put themselves, their patients and families at risk. We have watched as outbreaks in health care facilities result in infections and exposures among workers. The result is further staffing shortages and unmanageable workloads in a health care system already on the brink of collapse.

There is confusion regarding the current approach being taken to booster vaccinations. While health care workers are a priority group for vaccination, they are currently competing with the general public to receive a COVID-19 booster appointment. The pandemic has taken an incomprehensible toll on the mental and physical health of our members. They are the crux of a functioning health care system, yet registered nurses and nurse practitioners feel overlooked.

We strongly urge government and employers to work collaboratively to prioritize high risk populations, including frontline health care workers, as the booster rollout continues. This includes giving them booster priority, as well as providing access to boosters in workplaces when possible.

Sincerely,

Yvette Coffey, RN
President