Longer Appeal as Quebec Stands Firm on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination for Healthcare Workers | The Canadian News

Quebec is meeting its mid-October deadline to vaccinate all health workers in the province, Health Minister Christian Dubé said on Friday, but some suggest more time is needed before the rule goes into effect. validity.

Dubé told reporters in Lévis, Que., That he is confident that managers of the health network will be able to draw up a contingency plan and reorganize services in case many staff members remain unvaccinated and unable to work. He said there is a month left and urged employees to get vaccinated.

“We are in a crisis situation, we are taking measures that are temporary, we are reorganizing (services), it is temporary, but the most important thing is to find a solution for the staff and that is what we are committed to. doing in the next few days, ”he said.

Before the October 15 deadline for healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated or at risk of being suspended, about 20,000 workers, including 10,000 who work with patients, have yet to receive their two vaccinations.

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As of September 14, according to the province’s public health institute, 93.4 percent of health workers had received a first dose and 89.5 percent were adequately vaccinated.

But some say more time is needed, especially since the provincial government has not published the decree outlining the details of the health measure and what exemptions might exist.

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The Health Department says the decree is expected soon, but a union leader said that if the government was serious about the October 15 date, it should have issued a decree two weeks ago.

“It takes four weeks for people to have two doses, we have to allow time for the network and for people who want to receive the two doses once they see the decree, we have to give them that time”, Jeff Begley, head of the federation of health and social services unions, said on Friday.

The vast majority of its members are vaccinated, and Begley said coercion is less effective than encouragement. “That is still our position, but if the government decides to go ahead with mandatory vaccines, we want to notify our members knowing all the details,” he said.

Paul Arbec, president of the provincial association of private long-term care homes, said that of the roughly 5,000 employees who work in those homes, about five percent remain unvaccinated.

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“We were floating around 10 percent of our employees who were reluctant to get vaccinated for ethical, cultural or religious reasons, and we managed to reduce that number to about five percent,” Arbec said. “We have been working very hard to recruit, because we will suspend people without pay who did not get vaccinated.”

Arbec said it doesn’t think the government will back down, but it hopes provincial officials will show some leniency towards those who might have received a first dose a bit late.

“It’s not just the nurses and orderlies. It’s the kitchen staff, the cleaning staff. It affects all departments, ”Arbec said, adding that they will formally request an extension on Monday. He said the number of unvaccinated staff could be further reduced with more time.

Dubé acknowledged that there were some risks in requiring vaccination, but said it is for the protection of both patients and healthcare workers, who, according to him, are uncomfortable working with unvaccinated colleagues.

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On Friday, Quebec reported 837 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths attributed to the new coronavirus. The Health Department said hospitalizations increased by six to 262, with 95 patients enrolled in intensive care, an increase of eight. Dube said the new intensive care cases were all among people who are not vaccinated.

Health officials said 21,813 doses of vaccines had been administered in the previous 24 hours, including more than 7,200 first doses. According to the province’s public health institute, 88.7% of Quebecers aged 12 and over have received at least one dose and 83.9% are considered to be adequately vaccinated.

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