Hospital board members who received the scarce H1N1 vaccine defended their position at the head of the queue yesterday, even after the province’s chief medical officer of health said they do not belong in the priority groups.

“I can’t speak for the other board members, but I did feel that if the medical staff had made the decision that it was important for all of us who are in and out of the hospital to be safe … then it behooved us to listen to their safety caution,” said Vicki Bismilla, vice-president at Centennial College, who received the shot as a member of The Scarborough Hospital’s board of directors.

Mt. Sinai vice-chairman Edward Sonshine said he understands why some people are crying foul over the board member vaccinations.

“There’s a natural resentment to that … everyone says it’s a two-tiered system and I certainly understand that,” said Sonshine, who did not get vaccinated by the hospital (he got his shot from a physician).

Sonshine said board members regularly visit the hospital, so he can see why they should receive the vaccine ahead of the general public.

Executives at a number of Toronto-area hospitals insisted yesterday board members are health-care workers, and they denied any queue jumping. Torstar News Service