Simcoe County hospitals impose vaccine policy with harsh consequences for unvaccinated staff

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) and several other Simcoe County hospitals implemented a vaccination policy which could result in unpaid leave or termination for unvaccinated staff.

RVH's president and CEO said those in health care had a responsibility to roll up their sleeves.

"With COVID-19 cases on the rise, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, along with clear evidence that the vast majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated people, health care workers have a responsibility to do everything possible to ensure a safe environment," said Janice Skot.

Staff must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31, except for those granted a medical exemption or accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

"I believe patients and their families when they come to RVH; they're going to receive safe care. Also, for the 80-plus per cent of team RVH who are already fully vaccinated, they too want to come to a safe work environment," Skot added.

Several local hospitals imposed the vaccine policy, including Southlake, Orillia Soldiers' Memorial, Georgian Bay General, Headwaters Health Care, Stevenson Memorial and The Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.

In all, 14 central Ontario hospitals came up with the joint vaccination policy, making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all staff.

PROTEST HELD TO REJECT MANDATORY VACCINES

Meanwhile, a rally was held outside the Barrie hospital on Wednesday afternoon as part of a series of cross-country events rejecting mandatory vaccines.

Protestors said, at its peak, several hundred individuals were participating in the rally.

Organizers also held rallies in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal and St. John's.