Medical officer of health recommends workplace vaccination policies

·2 min read

GREY-BRUCE – Although local numbers remain consistently low – only two new cases reported for Sept. 5, with 16 active cases and 16 high-risk contacts – other parts of Ontario and Canada are seeing a precipitous rise in numbers. A major reason is the highly contagious Delta variant.

As of Sept. 3, the number of new cases reported across Canada was 4,160. In Ontario, as of Sept. 5, more than 800 new cases were reported for the third straight day. Most of the new cases in Ontario are being seen in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Windsor-Essex, Niagara and Simcoe Muskoka.

Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health for Grey-Bruce, is recommending local employers develop a workplace vaccination policy, to protect staff.

Such policies would clearly state expectations regarding immunization of employees, and specify actions workers must take to provide proof of vaccination or medical exemption.

To facilitate this, the Grey Bruce Health Unit has posted recommendations and templates on its website.

“We require a community-wide response against COVID-19,” said Arra. “Our efforts would go further if every sector, including employers, are committed to mitigating the fourth wave. Getting fully vaccinated for COVID-19 is the best defence against the virus, including the Delta variant.”

Other ways employers can promote the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine include providing employees with information from credible sources, providing translated resources, supporting “vaccine champions” to initiate conversations with their peers, providing paid leave to get vaccinated, reminding workers that they are legally entitled to up to three paid sick days if they have side effects from the vaccine, and providing transportation support to get vaccinated.

Everyone who has been vaccinated in Ontario may access proof of their vaccination through the provincial vaccination system – check the health unit website for a link.

Arra stresses that until we reach 90 per cent vaccine coverage, we need to adhere to established COVID-19 public health measures.

The vast majority of new cases continue to be among people who are either unvaccinated or are only partly vaccinated.

In Grey-Bruce, targeted vaccination clinics continue to be scheduled on a daily basis (see the list on the health unit website), with vaccines also available at pharmacies and medical clinics.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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