Mandatory vaccinations will be required for all Alberta Health Services staff and contracted health care providers, including doctors and other frontline workers.
The announcement came last Tuesday from AHS in a news release.
Employees and contractors will be required to be fully immunized by Oct. 31.
“This is an extraordinary but necessary measure to help protect our vital frontline healthcare teams and help us maintain a safe environment for all patients and clients,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of AHS.
The United Nurses of Alberta union, who have staff working for AHS, say it’s “a public health policy question that needs to be determined by public health experts.
“It should not be determined by an employer or a union, nor should it be an item of negotiation between employers and unions,” said UNA in a release.
The Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC) found in a survey a “significant majority of Alberta business operators do not support requiring proof of vaccination to access businesses providing non-essential services.”
The survey consisted of about 1,464 responses.
“A majority of all respondents were concerned about implications for employer rights, employee rights, and hiring to replace employees not willing to work because of a vaccination requirement,” said ACC.
“Immunization against COVID-19 is the most effective means to prevent the spread of COVID-19, to prevent outbreaks in AHS facilities, to preserve workforce capacity to support the healthcare system, and to protect our workers, patients, visitors and others accessing AHS facilities,” said AHS.
Those who are unable to be immunized due to medical reasons or for reasons under the Alberta Human Rights Act will be “reasonably” accommodated, said AHS.
UNA says they will represent their members who cannot be immunized but also urged all members not restricted by medical conditions or religious beliefs to arrange to be fully vaccinated.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News