May 31, 2021
By Christine Ross
Ontario is setting vaccination policy for long term care homes.
According to a government release, workers must present proof of vaccination or a “documented medical reason for not being vaccinated” or attend a program on the risks of not being vaccinated.
Minister Merilee Fullerton says these new measures that promote full immunization for staff is the best way to protect residents, staff and their families.
Homes will be required to track and report on these policies, including overall staff immunization rates. But the vaccine status of individual staff members will NOT be shared with the province. The new policy takes effect July 1st.
As of Sunday, May 30th, the government says 97 percent of long term care residents were fully immunized and almost 90 percent of staff had received at least their first dose and 66 percent were fully immunized.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says there’s been discussion about this policy being expanded in other sectors like public schools and says it’s a possibility.
“This kind of policy is based on policies used in some hospitals and it’s a good idea, it certainly makes sure that people have the information to make an informed decision and part of it will being to make sure workers have access to a vaccine.”
3,785 long term care residents have died from COVID since the pandemic started.