Quebec healthcare workers have until October 15 to get fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or face suspension without pay, Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Health Minister Christian Dube announced Tuesday afternoon at a press conference – and it goes for everybody, right down to janitors, receptionists and security guards.
Quebec case counts are back on the rise, thanks to the highly-contagious Delta variant, which currently makes up the majority of hospitalizations – which have climbed precipitously, culminating in the government mandating the jabs for all healthcare workers.
The number of patients hospitalized has risen more than 300 percent in a month, Legault said, going from 55 to 171.
That’s why the government reversed course and mandate the healthcare worker vaccinations. Previously, only workers who had to spend more than 15 minutes with any one patient would be obliged to be vaccinated.
Now, Dube says?
With cases on the rise – Quebec reported 515 new cases Tuesday – Dube said the government had no choice but to institute the mandate.
“Our health network is already under a lot of pressure, particularly in the Montreal region. We cannot, therefore, accept that workers put vulnerable people at risk. This is a measure for employees and patients. The healthcare network must be safe,” Dube said.
Earlier in the day, Dube tweeted a telling statistic, showing that 16 of the 21 people who were hospitalized or put in intensive care units on Tuesday were not vaccinated or had received a first vaccine dose less than 14 days earlier.
Among the 515 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, 353 -- or 68.5 percent -- were not vaccinated or had received a first vaccine dose less than 14 days earlier. Another 50 – or 9.7 percent – had received a first dose 14 or more days earlier. And 112 – or 21.7 percent – had received their second dose at least seven days earlier.
Quebec considers someone fully vaccinated seven days after their second dose.
The vaccine passport system that the provincial government has slowly been gaining steam with many businesses jumping on board earlier then required by law. Movie-goers, for instance, are greeted at the door by employees asking for ID and passport proof.
The figures indicate that 78.3 percent of new cases were among those not fully vaccinated.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase