Nov 03, 2021

By Christine Ross

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On a day when the the Ford government is offering third COVID-19 vaccines to almost 3 million Ontario residents, it’s decided against a province-wide COVID-19 vaccination mandate for hospital workers for now.

After asking hospitals and other stakeholders for input last month, the premier’s decided to leave the decision to mandate vaccines up to individual hospitals.

“The concern that we had that we would lose some of our precious health human resources compared to a relatively small number of outbreaks and that’s why the determination was made not to proceed with a mandatory policy at this time, ” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.

She points to British Columbia being forced to cancel surgeries due to staff shortages caused by its vaccine mandate. She acknowledges vulnerable elderly patients or those with underlying conditions could be treated by an unvaccinated health care worker but she says there are rigorous testing schedules.

Elliott was asked about hospitals that already have their own mandatory vaccination policies.

“I know that many of the large companies in Ontario have mandated vaccines but it’s also open to individual hospitals to decided whether they are going to require mandatory vaccines and some of them have and we’ll allow that to continue.”

A statement by Doug Ford also points to high vaccination rates and strong infection control measures in Ontario hospitals.

The Ontario Hospital Association says its disappointed the government decided against mandatory vaccines.

In a statement the group says there was a strong consensus 94-percentof hospitals endorsing a province wide policy.

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