It is still too early to say how Quebec’s health system will be affected by a vaccine mandate that could lead to the suspension of thousands of workers by the end of the week, Health Minister Christian Dubé said Tuesday.
Dubé, however, said the province would not change its health order requiring that all health workers who are in close contact with patients be fully vaccinated by Friday or risk being suspended without pay.
“We are not moving on the date,” Que told reporters in Gatineau.
Quebec nurses order suspension of licenses for unvaccinated members as government deadline approaches
About 3,000 nurses and 2,500 patient assistants remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, Dube said, adding that the province was already in short supply of about 5,000 nurses.
“It is a great challenge,” he said. The government, he added, was working on a contingency plan to reduce the impact of possible suspensions on the health system. Dubé said the plan would be announced in the next few days and would involve the “reorganization” of services, but did not give details.
He said that while he identified with people who were hesitant to vaccinate, he said he did not understand why some healthcare workers were still refusing to get vaccinated after what they had seen and experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We respect your choice, but your choice has consequences,” he said.
Calls are growing for Quebec to delay mandatory vaccination deadline for healthcare workers
On Tuesday, the professional order regulating pharmacists in Quebec said that about 400 of the members had not presented the order with proof of vaccination. The professional body has said it would suspend the licenses of its members who refuse to be fully vaccinated.
Also Tuesday, professional orders regulating licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapists said members who are not fully vaccinated by Friday would not be able to work. The decision followed similar moves by orders regulating nurses and doctors, which have said they would suspend the licenses of unvaccinated members starting October 15.
Quebec on Tuesday reported 409 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths attributed to the new coronavirus. The Health Department said COVID-19-related hospitalizations increased by one, to 291, and 72 people were in intensive care, a decrease of six patients.
Quebec’s professional orders should tighten up with members as vaccination deadline approaches: Dubé
The health authority in west-central Montreal said it would begin administering booster injections of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday at the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Center. That long-term care facility was one of the first two senior centers in the province to receive COVID-19 vaccinations last December.
The government has said it would administer third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to people living in long-term care facilities and private nursing homes six months after their second dose.
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