MONTREAL — The Quebec government is backtracking on its vaccine mandate for health-care workers, saying the loss of unvaccinated workers would have a "devastating effect" on the system.
Health Minister Christian Dubé said today that its plan to suspend unvaccinated workers as of Nov. 15 would have forced the health network to reduce services and compromised efforts to improve conditions for existing workers.
He told a news conference in Quebec City vaccination will no longer be mandatory for current health-care employees but will be required for new hires.
Unvaccinated employees will have to be tested for COVID-19 at least three times a week.
The government originally set an Oct. 15 deadline for health care workers to be vaccinated but extended it by a month in the hopes of convincing the remaining workers to get the shot.
The minister says 97 per cent of health-care workers are vaccinated against COVID-19, but there are still about 14,000 who have not received a single dose, including 5,000 who have direct contact with patients.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2021.
The Canadian Press