Hamilton Health Sciences to move forward with COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all staff, physicians

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Published October 22, 2021 at 10:47 am

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) announced on Friday (Oct. 22) that it would be instituting a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all staff and physicians.

In an open letter posted to the health-care provider’s website, HHS President and CEO, Rob MacIsaac, explained that the decision to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory among hospital workers was not made easily but it is “necessary to close the remaining gap in order to provide for the safety and protection for our workforce and community.”

“We know vaccine mandates are effective, and we think higher rates of vaccination are necessary for our workforce, our patients, and our community,” he wrote.

“For patient populations at greater risk (like the immune-compromised and the frail elderly population), hospital workers must do everything possible to not be the cause of transmission to patients.”

According to MacIsaac’s letter, about 90 per cent of the patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at HHS are not vaccinated.

To date, approximately 91 per cent of HHS staff and physicians have been fully vaccinated against the virus. MacIsaac notes in the letter that all HHS employees already had to have certain other vaccines administered prior to being hired and that being vaccinated “as a condition of employment at HHS is nothing new.”

He goes on to note that being vaccinated reduces both the risk of COVID-19 infection and the risk of severe illness and hospitalization caused by that infection. Additionally, he said, if a fully vaccinated individual does contract COVID, there is a lower risk they will transmit the illness, as compared to someone who has no immunity whatsoever.

“The vaccine is not perfect at preventing COVID infections, and people opposed to vaccine mandates like to point this out,” he said.

“If we had waited for perfect solutions before taking action to fight this pandemic, we would have done nothing. We know that social distancing, personal protective equipment, and handwashing are effective but all have their limitations. We need to employ the tools we have at our disposal.”

According to the letter, as of November 30, 2021, HHS will require all staff and physicians to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have an accepted medical or religious reason not to be.

MacIsaac addressed concerns of health-care worker shortages and said that while the pandemic has certainly strained human resources in the sector, this problem has been in the making for years before this crisis.

“COVID-19 hasn’t helped this situation with its relentless strain on our workers, but the root causes of this shortage are much broader and longer-term than the pandemic,” he said.

“As a consequence, and as you would expect, we will proceed prudently in the weeks ahead as we move to implement this policy.”

Read the full text of MacIsaac’s letter here.

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