Dozens of unvaccinated hospital staff members in Waterloo Region to be placed on unpaid leave

Dozens of hospital staff in Waterloo Region will be placed on unpaid leave starting Wednesday for failing to comply with their employers' COVID-19 vaccination policies.

In September, hospitals in Waterloo Region announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all staff. Staff had until Tuesday to either be fully vaccinated or receive at least one dose and sign an attestation that they will receive the second by early November.

As of Tuesday morning, 51 staff members at Cambridge Memorial Hospital have chosen not to be vaccinated, a hospital spokesperson said in an email. They will be placed on leave starting Wednesday.

The remaining 96.8 per cent of staff and physicians are fully vaccinated or have received one dose.

At St. Mary's General Hospital, 99 per cent of staff are fully or partially vaccinated, a spokesperson said in an email.

Dayna Giorgio, manager of communications, said the final number is "still moving" but that "just over 30 staff members" were either suspended last Friday or will be placed on unpaid leave on Wednesday for failing to comply with the vaccine policy.

Meanwhile, 31 staff members at Guelph General Hospital who chose not to be vaccinated were issued suspension notices on Tuesday. The hospital said that figure represents less than two per cent of all staff.

At Grand River Hospital, 228 of the 4,364 staff and physicians were non-compliant with the vaccination policy, but officials believe that number will change to 171 by Wednesday. As of Tuesday, 94.4 per cent of staff are fully vaccinated and 1.5 per cent are partially vaccinated.