Essex County says majority of employees in compliance with vaccine policy

AM800-NEWS-ESSEX-CIVIC-CENTRE-MAY2016

The County of Essex is implementing a vaccination policy in an effort to ensure a safe and healthy workplace, like many other public sector organizations across the region, province and country to protect from COVID-19.

As heard on AM800 on Friday, President of CUPE 2974 James Jovanovic said just over 35 EMS staff will be told to stay home without pay if they don't have the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 7

A statement from the county says that the vast majority of their employees are in compliance with this policy, and County warden Gary McNamara says this isn't just a policy for a EMS.

"We have 1,000 employees. We take care of long term facilities, our road crews, it goes on and on. The policy is basically a health and safety issue. The responsibility of administration is basically to make sure we have a safe workplace for all of our employees."

The County says operations and the services they provide will not be impacted by the small number of employees who will be placed on unpaid leave until they are in compliance with the policy.

McNamara says this is beyond just a public health issue now.

"It's an occupational health and safety issue that all of us are taking seriously. Whether you're an employee of the hospital, an employee of a municipality, you're seeing the outcomes are going through the roof again in the country. The only way that we can get this thing under control is through vaccination."

He says they will also provide free, on-site COVID-19 testing for employees who cannot take the COVID-19 vaccine for medical or religious reasons.

"The responsibility to each and everyone of us is to make sure that we are safe within our environment and in particular our co-workers that we work with and the patients that we have to transport that are non-COVID."

The County says the evidence is clear and overwhelming that vaccines work.