COVID-19 vaccine mandates for Yukon gov't workers in high-risk settings might be lifted

·2 min read
Yukon Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee says she'll bring the recommnedation to end vaccine mandates for Yukon government workers, volunteers and contractors in high-risk settings to cabinet. (Philippe Morin/CBC - image credit)
Yukon Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee says she'll bring the recommnedation to end vaccine mandates for Yukon government workers, volunteers and contractors in high-risk settings to cabinet. (Philippe Morin/CBC - image credit)

COVID-19 vaccine mandates for Yukon government workers, volunteers and contractors in high-risk settings, including government-employed nurses, could be lifted soon.

Tracy-Anne McPhee, minister of health, and Yukon's new chief medical officer of health, Dr. Sudit Ranade, held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to give an update on COVID-19.

The recommendation came late last week from the interim chief medical officer of health, McPhee said, and it was endorsed by Ranade.

"We are considering all recommendations from the chief medical officer of health while keeping in mind that vaccines continue to offer the best protection against severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death and, knowing that the Omicron variant has a high rate of transmission," McPhee said.

"As we continue to learn to live with COVID-19, we are starting to take cautious steps toward treating it like other respiratory illnesses."

McPhee said she'll be taking the recommendations to cabinet sometime this week possibly.

Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada
Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada

Ranade said the territory is keeping an eye on what's happening in terms of waves of COVID-19 in other jurisdictions this summer and what impact, if any, they will have on their healthy systems. However, he added the territory is making a shift to treat COVID-19 like other communicable diseases.

"In a larger sense, we need to begin to incorporate the response to COVID with the response to other kinds of respiratory viruses that will co-circulate with COVID-19 and part of that response is making sure that folks are up to date with their vaccines," he said.

On July 7, the territory extended the eligibility of the second COVID-19 booster to Yukoners 18 years of age and older.

Ranade said in keeping with the transitioning to a "more sustainable method of dealing with COVID," the territory will be changing the frequency of COVID-19 dashboard updates from daily to weekly and monthly updates.

"That's part of recognizing that the daily or weekly fluctuations are not as meaningful in terms of risk as the as the overall trend," he said.

In the coming months, Ranade said the territory will be reviewing the overall COVID-19 strategy including Forging Ahead, the document that outlines how Yukon is adapting to COVID-19 risk, and planning for revisions that can incorporate the new reality of COVID-19.

"It's going to be with us for the longer term," he said.

Ranade said moving forward, hospitalizations will likely be the government's main focus, not how many people have COVID-19.

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