At least 92 per cent of Alberta healthcare workers vaccinated, 61 employees quit

While the vast majority of Alberta Health Services employees have complied with vaccination rules – 61 out of more than 100,000 decided they’d rather quit than get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Of the 61 that resigned, 31 were in “clinical roles” and 11 are registered nurses.

Thousands more employees – about seven per cent – had not yet submitted proof of vaccination paperwork, president and CEO of AHS Dr. Verna Yiu announced Tuesday

Yiu said 92 per cent of all AHS workers had submitted proof of vaccination, while about 1,200 had claimed a medical or religious exemption.

“Overall this tells us there is very broad support for the mandatory vaccine policy…we stand by the policy, and it will be fully implemented,” Yiu said.

Yiu said some of the 1,200 will be accommodated with exemptions and those who don’t have an exemption granted are still being encouraged to get vaccinated and provide proof.

“Those employees who are not fully immunized in compliance with the policy will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence,” Yiu said.

“With such low numbers we don't anticipate the policy of having any significant impact on our ability to provide care to Albertans.”

Yiu called vaccines “our most effective tool” in reducing transmission of the virus.

AHS announced it’s mandatory vaccination policy Aug. 31, and employees have until Oct. 31 to comply.

On Thursday, an AHS spokesperson clarified that Yiu was referring to part-time and full-time staff only.

“We do not include casual staff in our numbers because we will not be calling on unimmunized casual staff for shifts after the mandatory immunization policy deadline,” Kerry Williamson clarified in an email.

Vaccinations of casual staff stood at about 74 per cent, he said.