Dr. Ahmed Supports Mandatory Vaccination for LTC Home Staff
Ontario long-term care homes must now enforce mandatory COVID-19 immunization policies for staff.
Homes will be required to track and report on the implementation of their policies, including overall staff immunization rates, but the immunization status of individual staff members will not be shared with the province
Windsor-Essex's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, hopes the new policy will continue to keep long-term care homes safe.
"We're looking forward to it and we're hoping that most, if not all, will get their vaccine and will keep these facilities safe for everyone," he says.
As part of the announcement, the provincial government says staff must provide proof of vaccination or a documented medical exemption. According to Dr. Ahmed, there are very few things that would allow people to be exempt.
"It has to be either some kind of severe allergic reaction to the component of the vaccine that would result in an anaphylactic shock or something, or if there is any kind of current medical treatment that would prevent these people from getting the vaccine right away."
Because the provincial government had previously said people couldn't be forced to get a vaccine, Dr. Ahmed says there may be some push-back.
"When I'm looking at the number, our coverage rate, if it's low then that means that there are people who are not getting the vaccine in these facilities," he says."So those who are not getting the vaccine, they may have reasons for why their not getting the vaccine and if they're the one who want to push back, they will. But as I said, it's the right thing to do."
The province believes encouraging more workers to get vaccinated will reduce the likelihood of outbreaks and infections.
— With files from The Canadian Press