Local health unit supports mandatory immunization of LTC workers

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Employees working at long term care and retirement homes will be expected to get their COVID-19 vaccine starting July 1.

“It is the right thing to do,” says WECHU’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed. “We are hoping most, if not all, will get their vaccine and keep these facilities safe for everyone.”

Ahmed could not provide the number of workers who have been vaccinated in Windsor-Essex as the mandatory implementation is being spearheaded by the province's Ministry of Health.

“We are working close with the long term care homes and the Ministry to make sure we are providing the pubic health expertise and public support to all of these facilities,” he adds.

The Doug Ford government announced that all 626 long-term care homes in Ontario will have to have immunization polices in place for staff that will, at a minimum, require workers who do not get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to “participate in an educational program about the benefits of vaccination and the risks of not being vaccinated.

The policy takes effect July 1 and the only exception will be for staff who can provide a “documented medical reason for not being vaccinated,” the province says.

“There are very few medical exemptions,” says Ahmed. “It either has to be a severe allergic reaction to the component of the vaccine that could result in an anaphylactic shock or if there is any current medical treatment that would prevent these people from getting their vaccine right away.”