COVID-19 Update for August 17, 2021 – Ontario to implement COVID-19 vaccination policies for healthcare workers.
Ontario to Implement COVID-19 Vaccination Policies for Healthcare Workers
With case numbers rising and back to school around the corner, Ontario announced employers will be required to develop stringent COVID-19 vaccination policies for staff in healthcare settings.
The directive from the province will not mandate vaccination, but individuals who decline must complete an education session on COVID-19 vaccines and be regularly tested prior to arriving at work. Staff will need to provide proof of full immunization against COVID-19 or a medical reason for not being vaccinated.
With rising concerns over the Delta variant in high risk settings, hospitals, home and community service providers, and ambulances will be required to implement these policies by September 7.
“We must take assertive action to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians, especially as we move closer to a return to school and colder weather drives us indoors,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said.
The province intends to proceed with vaccination policies in other sectors including congregate care settings, community based services for children with special needs, and post-secondary institutions.
The Ministry of Education is said to be finalizing a vaccination policy for all publicly funded school board employees as well as staff in licensed childcare settings, which Dr. Moore said will be crucial to minimize the impact on children.
To date, over 81 percent of the eligible population has received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and fewer than 400,000 doses are needed to reach the provincial target of 75 percent fully vaccinated.
Moore said Ontario will be pausing any exit from the Roadmap to Reopen until these policies are implemented and vaccination rates increase.