Ontario, Canada Says No To Vaccine Mandates For Hospital Staff Fearing A Shortage Of Workers

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In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • The Ontario government says it will not be moving forward with a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for hospital workers.

    • The decision comes after observing the consequences and pressures such mandates can pose on healthcare systems.

    • Hospitals can still enforce requirements if they choose to do so.

  • Reflect On:

    Do vaccine mandates for hospital workers put more people at risk who need healthcare?

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The Ontario (Canada) government has announced that it will not be implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for hospital workers. The decision comes shortly after the province of Quebec also repealed vaccine requirements for hospital workers.

“Quebec has now abandoned theirs altogether because of the significant risk an abrupt loss of thousands of healthcare workers posses” to deliver critical services, the province added.

Despite the fact that the majority of hospital workers are vaccinated, the number of workers unvaccinated is still significant and imposes a big problem for healthcare not just in Ontario, but all across the country.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Ford government said it is a complex issue but pointed to the negative impact a similar policy had on the healthcare system in B.C., where approximately 4000 workers face termination and forcing the cancellation of surgeries and diagnostic tests.

Kingston’s research and teaching hospital in Ontario placed 136 employees on a two-week, unpaid leave for failing to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

This is an issue that’s plagued many hospitals in North America. For example, Lewis County General Hospital in New York had to stop delivering babies in September due to a shortage of staff. At that time, approximately 26 percent of workers at that hospital were refusing to get vaccinated. New York state alone had 70,000 healthcare workers facing termination in September if they refused to be vaccinated.

Despite the fact that the mandates are being scraped, hospitals are still free to continue to implement their own mandates, which several hospitals in Ontario will continue to do.

Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters later on Tuesday that the province decided not to impose a vaccine mandate on health-care workers because hospitals would experience “significant” job losses, but the province supports the right of hospitals to make individual decisions.

Given the fact that natural immunity provides greater and more robust protection than the vaccine, should previously infected hospital workers be allowed to work? A number of hospitals in Michigan State are allowing unvaccinated immune staff to work. Should workers who do not have COVID and are not sick be allowed to work too?

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