CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Community Hospital announced on Friday, Aug. 27 that it would implement a mandatory vaccination policy for all staff members, as well as volunteers and contractors.
On Aug. 17, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore issued a directive that institutions must implement a vaccination policy where COVID-19 was deemed to be a high-risk including hospitals, women’s shelters, and other congregate living settings.
Unvaccinated staff members will have until Sept. 7 to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and until Oct. 15 to receive their second dose.
“By taking a phased approach, CCH is ensuring that staff who have not yet been vaccinated have the necessary time to receive both doses,” reads a statement from the CCH. “CCH will also provide education and consultation on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines to ensure unvaccinated staff are fully informed.”
The CCH states that it is exploring ways to enforce the policy if some staff members still refuse to be vaccinated.
“The hospital will be considering all options to effectively enforce our policy should unvaccinated staff not comply with the requirements to be fully vaccinated by October 15,” reads a statement from the CCH emailed to Seaway News.
The guidelines for a vaccination policy as set out by Dr. Moore require staff in these high-risk institutions to either present proof of vaccination, present a medical reason for why they cannot be vaccinated, or undergo an education program about the benefits of vaccination and the risks of not being vaccinated.
The CCH states that 86 per cent of its staff are vaccinated with the vaccination rate among its medical staff being 99 per cent.
“CCH proudly cares for some of our area’s most vulnerable patients, such as youth or people who may come to our hospital to receive chemotherapy, dialysis, and critical care. They shouldn’t have to worry about contracting COVID-19 or the vaccination status of our healthcare workers,” said Jeanette Despatie, President and CEO. “From the onset of this pandemic, CCH made a commitment to our staff, physicians and community that we would do everything we could to ensure their safety. Mandating vaccines for COVID-19, as we do for other infectious diseases, is simply the right thing to do.”