City of Hamilton drops COVID-19 vaccine mandate for new hires

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Published May 5, 2023 at 2:46 pm

Mississauga vaccination clinic
Former Oakville and Hamilton municipal workers are part of more than 200 plaintiffs who filed a $125M lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccine mandates

The city of Hamilton will no longer require its new hires to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

City council passed a motion to “pause” this requirement on Wednesday (May 3), with 11 of 14 members of the general issues committee (GIC) voting in favour.

This measure was removed for most existing municipal employees last summer but was left in place for new workers.

Going forward, no new city employees (including those working in long-term care, paramedic services and the Red Hill Family Centre) will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  The motion also suspended mandatory rapid antigen screen testing for asymptomatic staff.

“I think this is the appropriate direction for our city at this point in time,” Mayor Andrea Horwath said in presenting her motion.

The public health report says vaccination protects people from the “severe effects” of COVID-19, “but has little, if any, effect against the risk” of infection.

“As such, vaccination against COVID-19 is currently believed to have no effect against the transmission of the virus between people” but will “decrease the severity” of infection, the report stated.

Horwath hopes suspending the last of the COVID-19 vaccination verification policy will “take the temperature down a bit,”

“The important thing here is to be able turn the page on some of the friction and some of the difficulties that the past council went through,” Horwath said to committee members Wednesday.

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