Dozens of unvaccinated Windsor, Ont. hospital employees terminated

Hospitals in Windsor, Ont., have terminated dozens of unvaccinated staff members now that their COVID-19 vaccine policies are in full effect.

Unvaccinated employees at Windsor Regional Hospital and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare received termination notices on Thursday – the deadline for employees to be fully vaccinated.

WRH says staff who did not receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 22 were placed on a two-week unpaid leave. At that time, 147 staff were impacted by the policy.

If those staff members did not receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 7, their employment was terminated; or their privileges were suspended on an immediate mid-term basis (with a recommendation going forward that their privileges be revoked/terminated) and the related by-law process will be followed.

WRH announced Thursday that 4,155 or 98.5 per cent of its employees and professional staff are fully vaccinated or have complied with the policy. As of Oct. 7, 57 of the employees and six professional staff have not complied with the policy.

“I want to thank the WRH team members for recognizing the importance of the COVID-19 vaccines and leading by example for our community and Province,” said David Musyj, president and CEO of WRH.

Musyj said based on the policy, 57 employees were terminated and six professional staff had their privileges revoked.

The nursing (registered nurses, registered practical nurses and nurse practitioners) compliance rate with the policy is 99 per cent.

“Aside from the community, aside from the patients, our own staff are saying thank you for protecting me. Thank you for protecting my family,” Musyj said.

Chief of staff Dr. Wassim Saad said they have to individually and collectively do everything in their power to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

“Becoming vaccinated and following public health measures are two main key factors that reduce risk especially in an environment we care for many immune compromised patients,” said Saad.

WRH services are not expected to be impacted by the terminations.

“If you are coming into hospital you are assured that everyone looking after you in the hospital are completely vaccinated and that you are not going to acquire COVID within the hospital,” WRH chief of staff Dr. Wassim Saad said.

HOTEL-DIEU GRACE HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEES TERMINATED

The COVID-19 Vaccine Policy unanimously passed by Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare’s Medical Advisory Committee and Board of Directors in early September is also now in full effect.

The policy required that employees and physicians receive their first dose of the vaccination by Sept. 22. At that time, 30 employees were given a two-week period to receive their first dose with the opportunity to discuss or address questions and/or concerns with HDGH Leadership.

On Thursday, those employees not in compliance with the policy were issued termination letters. Additionally, those professional staff (physicians) in non-compliance are no longer exercising their privileges on the HDGH Campus. Similar to WRH, professional staff are not employed by the hospital, and it is now a governance matter being dealt with directly by the Board of Directors.

“There reasons are very different, some individuals have bought it to the misinformation, some of them believe that vaccine are experimental even though they’ve been approved by Health Canada,” HDGH president and CEO Janice Kaffer said.

“And others, just did not want to comply with a policy that they felt was against their right to make a decision for themselves.”

Ninety-eight per cent 98 per cent of the HDGH employees and 98 per cent of professional staff have complied with the policy. Twenty-four employees have not complied with the policy, 19 are considered clinical employees and five are considered non-clinical.

Two members of the professional staff have not complied with the policy.

There are five employees that have been exempt from the policy based on medical or human rights requirements and are required to participate in frequent testing.

“While this may be difficult for those who have decided not to become vaccinated, our patients don’t have a choice in the health event they are experiencing. For us, HDGH is their place to regain that health and we need to be sure we are doing all we can to protect it,” said Kaffer.

HDGH will now be actively recruiting for all vacancies and has had contingency plans in place recognizing the potential impact of the vaccination on staffing levels. Hospital officials say the patient-centred, value-based care will not be compromised.

98 PER CENT VACCINATION RATE AT ERIE SHORES HEALTHCARE

Ninety-eight per cent of the staff who work at Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington are now fully immunized.

However, officials say there are 10 staff members now on a two-week unpaid suspension.

- With files from CTV Windsor's Michelle Maluske