CORNWALL, Ontario – While COVID-19 vaccinations are not mandatory in workplaces or schools, the region’s medical officer of health says it should be mandated in some instances.
“There should be a mandate for individuals dealing with vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. “That includes teachers and health care workers in my opinion.”
He added that a vaccine mandate should also include students who are able to be vaccinated because there may be families with children who are not eligible for vaccinations yet.
No COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children younger than 12 years old.
The doctor expanded further saying that a vaccine mandate should also be included for post-secondary students, especially those living in residences.
Already many of Ontario’s colleges and universities have made two-dose vaccinations a requirement to live on campus.
On August 7, Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce released the province’s return-to-school plan for the fall. The plan did not include mandatory vaccinations of students or staff attending schools.
Students and staff are also not required to report their vaccination status, even if there is an outbreak at a school.
Roumeliotis said that while they cannot force vaccinations, he sees more places imposing restrictions like frequent workplace testing and screening for those who do not get vaccinated. These requirements are already set up in many long-term care homes he said.
“We want to protect the vulnerable people that these individuals are exposed to on a daily basis,” he said.
This article was originally written for and appeared in The Morrisburg Leader.