SYDNEY RIVER, N.S. -- An employee at a Cape Breton special care facility says an in-house lottery was used to determine who received leftover COVID-19 vaccines.

The worker says it's caused some confusion and anger among staff.

Breton Ability Centre in Sydney River is a facility for people with varying abilities. It's also been like a second home for dozens of front-line workers during the pandemic.

"We treat our residents just like they're our family," says one worker.

The worker, whose identity we are protecting because of their fear of losing their job, says some staff members feel devalued and not appreciated after an in-house lottery decided who would receive the extra doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"If you were at work that day, you got your name put into the lottery and picked to get the vaccine," the worker said. "So, for instance, myself if I wasn't at work that day, I didn't get my name put into the lottery."

Residents and designated caregivers and staff are part of the Phase 1 roll-out at the facility, and according to Breton Ability's CEO Harman Singh, they were vaccinated last week.

In a statement to CTV News, Singh says "to prevent any wastage, we were directed by public health to vaccinate any staff with extra doses. We were able to vaccinate some staff. In interest of fairness and to keep the process fair, we drew names, rather than hand pick staff."

In an email, CUPE, the union representing workers at the facility, says they were told Thursday that members are scheduled to be vaccinated by public health on three days next week.

"If you're saying caregivers are getting the vaccine, wouldn't you think it's you as the employee?" said the worker?

Singh says the administration of the vaccine is in accordance with the public health directives and she understands the urgency and the importance of staff getting immunized to protect them and the residents.

Singh says her hope is that all staff will be vaccinated by the end of next week.