Ontario mandates vaccination policy for health sector

The government is also offering third vaccine shorts for vulnerable groups

Ontario mandates vaccination policy for health sector

Health care, educational, and other high-risk institutions across Ontario have been ordered to provide a COVID-19 vaccination policy in the workplace amid the growing threat of the highly contagious delta variant.

Hospitals as well as home and community care services providers should have a vaccination policy for their employees, staff, contractors, students, volunteers, and ambulance services that is effective before September 7, according to the government.

The policy should include the presentation of at least a full vaccination proof, medical reason for not taking the jabs, or completion of the vaccination education session.

Those who will not be able to present proof of vaccination will need to undergo regular antigen testing, which will also serve as a report on the implementation of the policies to the local government.

According to Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott, vigilance should still be maintained even if Ontario remains as a leading jurisdiction in terms of administered first and second vaccine doses.

The province has administered over 20 million vaccine doses, with more than 81% aged 12 and above receiving their first dose, and over 73% receiving both doses.

"By taking additional measures in high-risk settings we will further protect our most vulnerable, safeguard hospital capacity, ensure a safe return to school and keep Ontario running," said Elliott in a media release.

For Education institutions

Meanwhile, the province is also planning on introducing a vaccination disclosure policy for publicly funded school board employees, staff in private schools as well as licenced child care settings. Those who will not be able to provide proof of vaccination must also undergo rapid antigen tests, said the government.

Ontario also made children born in 2009 eligible for the Pfizer vaccines. This gives children turning 12 before year-end to get their first vaccine dose in vaccination clinics.

The orders come amid Ontario's back-to-school plan, with the government insistent on keeping them open for the welfare of students.

"Our plan will protect our schools, ensure rapid speed with contact tracing, all with the intention of keeping them open for the benefit of Ontario students," said Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Institutions that should also implement vaccination policies include post-secondary institutions, retirement homes, women's shelters, group homes for adults with developmental disabilities, children's treatment centres, and other residential facilities for children.

Third dose for high-risk individuals

To further protect high-risk people, the government also gave the go signal for the administration of booster shots.

Those eligible for the shots include transplant recipients, patients with haematological cancers on active treatment, recipients of anti-CD20 agents, as well as residents of long-term care homes, care lodges, and retirement homes.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Kieran Moore said the move to roll out third vaccine doses and expand to 12-year-old children the jabs are the government's actions to provide the best protection to individuals.

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