Health care systems across the country are scrambling to avoid service disruptions ahead of the mandatory vaccination deadline, as thousands of workers in the sector remain illiterate despite the threat of unpaid leave.
15 October – When Quebec’s policy goes into effect – as large numbers of workers likely to be suspended – providers reduce the likelihood of major staffing gaps in hospitals and long-term care homes amid a fourth wave of COVID-19 , and the pandemic was made worse by burning on top of the current labor shortage.
In Laval, Ky., health administrators are calling for retirees and offering bonuses for getting departed workers back to work, while a private nursing home company in Ontario and British Columbia vaccinates workers as rewards. Holding a draw. For those who haven’t gotten their shots yet.
Contingency plans include postponing annual check-ins for home-care recipients in Quebec and increasing the shift from eight to 12 hours in some BC long-term care homes.
While vaccination rates in the health care sector are high overall, some provinces appear to be lagging behind. In Ontario, where long-term care workers are the only health workers who face government-imposed vaccine requirements, officials have left the door open to enforcing broad mandates, and many hospitals have self-reliance for staff. -There are mandates imposed.
Organizations representing Canadian doctors and nurses continue to support vaccine mandates for their members. Meanwhile, Dr. Katherine Smart, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said, “There is likely to be some short-term pain.”
Quebec’s health minister, Christian Dubey, acknowledged on Thursday that 25,000 health care workers in the province had not yet been fully vaccinated, with 13,000 not receiving a single dose.
This has put pressure on regional officials who provide health services in Quebec. The Center Integre de Sainte et de Services Socio (CISS) de Laval, located in a suburb of Montreal, has about 800 illiterate workers, half of whom haven’t gotten a single shot – a small proportion of its roughly 11,000-person work force, but Enough to make a significant hole in the services if all of them are placed on unpaid leave.
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CISSS Associate CEO Chantal Frisette said she was concerned when she first saw the list of unvaccinated employees and has been on a recruiting blitz ever since. Laval is trying to attract retirees and others who have worked in the health system before. The provincial government is offering a $12,000 bonus to former nurses returning to work.
Ms Frissett said the hiring spree is “relatively well underway”, although CISSS is “starting to make contingency plans for even the most pessimistic case.” The center does not expect medical procedures to be postponed, but some services may be disrupted, such as annual check-ins for home-care patients.
On Thursday, Mr Dubey said he was “hugely encouraged” by the province’s efforts to recruit replacement workers as part of a broader effort to tackle an outdated understanding in the province’s health care system. He told a press conference that more than 1,000 nurses have been hired full-time, with 1,900 more nurses in talks, against a target of 4,000.
Some health care workers have not been impressed with Quebec’s carrot-and-stick approach to encouraging vaccination. Melanie Gignac, president of Le Syndicat des Profenelles en Sons de Monterrey-Ouest (FIQ-SPSMO), said some of the nurses and auxiliary nurses she represents are so tired of the pandemic that they would be happy to be suspended. Some have received a single dose after getting a second dose to get some relief before returning to work.
On Tuesday, B.C. extended the vaccination deadline for workers in long-term care and assisted living facilities, due to concerns about employees in the field. Those workers were previously required to be fully immunized by October 12, but must now receive at least one dose by October 12, and a second dose within 35 days of the first dose.
B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry issued an order last month requiring all health care workers in the province to be immunized by October 26. A health ministry spokesman said Thursday that the first dose for those workers is needed by October. 26, requiring a second dose between 28 and 35 days after the first.
Vaccination levels vary widely by province, between health professions and regions. Matthew Chow, President of Doctors of BC, said that 97 percent of doctors in the state have been fully immunized.
In three of the B.C. health officials, more than 90 percent of long-term care workers are fully vaccinated. But in the north of the province, where nursing shortages were an issue even before the pandemic, only 79 percent of workers have received both doses.
Figures obtained by Alberta healthcare workers show that, as of October 4, most health care workers in many parts of the province had not yet confirmed that they had been fully vaccinated. The Calgary area had the highest rate of confirmed vaccinations, with 55 percent of AHS staff reporting that they had received both shots.
Overall, only half of Alberta’s health care workers have confirmed they have been fully vaccinated, less than a month before the province’s mandatory vaccination deadline of October 31.
James Wood, an AHS spokesman, said there are many fully immunized staff who have not yet submitted their proof of vaccination, which is not required by October 16. Mr Wood said the AHS knows the vast majority of health care workers are fully vaccinated, so the organization does not expect a large-scale impact.
He said sites run by AHS have contingency plans in the event of staffing shortages, but added that health authorities cannot discuss those plans until it is clear how staffing may be affected .
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