The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has unveiled its new vaccination policy and all employees will be required to be fully immunized by Oct. 31.
Working in conjunction with other hospitals in the region, the hospital is looking to bolster the safety of organization and the public against COVID-19.
“Vaccination is our best defense against this highly contagious virus and the best effort to lessen the impact of a fourth wave which is upon us,” alliance president and CEO Lori Marshall explained.
Marshall said senior management has been working with staff on both sides of the vaccine issue, adding the conversations have been very professional.
Of the 17 people hospitalized at CKHA with COVID-19 as of Monday – three of whom are in the ICU – two were fully vaccinated.
Six CHKA staff members are off either battling COVID-19 or due to exposure to the virus.
In order to be protected by the Oct. 31 deadline, unvaccinated staff must receive their first dose in the two-dose series by Sept. 18, with a second dose no later than Oct. 17.
Employees that have not provided a valid exemption will have their employment terminated if shots are not complete, and professional staff will see their privileges suspended on an immediate mid-term basis.
Anyone who is not presently vaccinated is required to complete a mandatory education module on the COVID-19 vaccine unless a medical exemption is provided.
The hospital is mandating all new hires, students, volunteers, board of health members, and contractors are now required to be double vaxxed.
The enhanced vaccine measures are supported by the Ontario Medical Association, and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.
As of Sept. 10, 86 per cent of CKHA employees were fully immunized.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice