WINNIPEG — An organization that represents doctors in Manitoba is calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health-care workers.
"When you consider the threat posed by COVID-19 compared to how safe and effective the vaccines are, requiring employee immunization is a necessary next step," said Dr. Kristjan Thompson, president of Doctors Manitoba, in a news release.
Manitoba has been holding back a fourth pandemic wave that is emerging in other areas of Canada, despite significantly loosening public health restrictions nearly a month ago.
There has been a low number of daily cases and the five-day test positivity rate is at 2.3 per cent provincially. There were 27 new cases reported Monday.
Ontario announced last week that strict vaccination and testing policies will be required for hospitals and home-care providers, among other health-care settings. Quebec took it a step further requiring all health-care workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, said he recommends that everyone in the province get a vaccination, especially those working with vulnerable people and patients. More information is to come about vaccinations and public health orders later this week, he added.
"If we are caring for vulnerable people, then we need to consider their safety as well," he said Monday.
"The more vaccine uptake we can get the better."
Roussin said he supports decisions by Manitoba universities to make vaccinations mandatory. The province's two largest universities and many other post-secondary institutions have said students and staff will have to be fully vaccinated before attending campus next month.
"When we have gatherings with fully vaccinated people, we are substantially decreasing the risk to all of those involved," he said.
More than 81 per cent of eligible Manitobans have had their first dose of a vaccine and 75.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 23, 2021.
Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press