'We're saying goodbye to long-time colleagues,' Unvaccinated hospital staff face Nov.1 deadline

Enforcing mandatory vaccinations in hospitals provides an "optimally safe environment for patients," but Stevenson Memorial's chief of staff adds it also has its downsides.

"We're saying goodbye to long-time colleagues. We are losing precious resources, human resources, because of this," says Dr. Barry Nathanson.

Stevenson Memorial Hospital's (SMH) vaccine policy takes effect on Monday.

At that time, unvaccinated staff will be forced to take a two-week leave of absence.

Two weeks later, those who are still not vaccinated will need to find work elsewhere.

"I have been asked a number of times, what is going on with these folks, why would health care providers - some physicians, some nurses and others - not get vaccinated? I don't have an answer for that. It boggles my mind," the Alliston critical care physician says.

Dr. Nathanson supports the vaccine mandates, saying they are appropriate and that vaccines are safe and effective, adding, "the evidence bears that out," beyond what he thinks.

As for the numbers at SMH, so far, 98 per cent of staff within the hospital's walls have received at least one dose of vaccine.

A spokesperson for the hospital says if the remaining two per cent don't get at least one shot, they could soon be affected by the unpaid policy in a matter of days.

"The attrition to staffing levels is a concern," says Dr. Nathanson.

"The numbers are not particularly high, and some facilities, some organizations are going to be affected more than others, and some discipline affected more than others," he finished.