Dube holds firm to Oct. 15 vaccination deadline for health-care workers

Despite pressure from the opposition and health-care unions, Christian Dubé won't budge.

Oct. 15 is the deadline for health-care employees to be fully vaccinated.

And he says those who haven't received both doses should think about the consequences: suspension without pay.

"The negative impact on seniority, for holidays, on pension plans -- there are a lot of negatives that maybe people have not considered before saying 'well, I'm taking a break,'" said the health minister.

The latest numbers from the Quebec health ministry indicate that 27,000 employees are not fully vaccinated, and more than 15,000 haven't received their first dose.

Dubé is closely watching the number of workers who are partially vaccinated.

"The ones that went for a first dose [...] will go in the next days [to] have a second dose. Their penalty outside of the system will be very short," he said.

On Wednesday, the Parti Québécois (PQ) backed numerous health care unions who asked the government to push back the vaccination deadline.

Dubé said the PQ's comments were irresponsible, but PQ MNA Joël Arseneau says the party is trying to protect the healthcare system.

"We’re defending services," he said. "We’re saying if the government didn’t reach its goal of having 100 per cent of the people working in the system vaccinated, does that mean the public, the citizens, the sick people will have to cope with not having services?"

Quebec Solidaire MNA Vincent Marissal wants to know what Quebec's plan is following Oct. 15.

"We still don’t have the real plan, what is the real plan from Mr. Dubé? To make sure that we are not going to have some 'bris-de-services' [breaks in services] everywhere in the network."

Liberal party leader Dominique Anglade says the Legault government waited too long to announce mandatory vaccinations.

"Right now we feel it’s completely improvised. [In] September they said there was not going to be any impact on services -- we’re seeing impacts as we speak, and we still haven’t seen a plan for Oct. 15."

The health minister says we should know more about Quebec's contingency plan next week.

In the meantime, Quebec has hired 1,000 nurses to help out with a nursing shortage, and another 1,900 are in negotiations.  

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