Effective January 27, 2022, all of our staff and physicians will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to work at Niagara Health, with very few exceptions.
“Mandating full vaccination is in the best interest of our hospital and community,” says Lynn Guerriero, President and CEO at Niagara Health. “It is the natural next step to protect our people, patients and operations against the threat of COVID-19. The majority of our staff and physicians support mandatory vaccination, and it is our hope that every member of our team who is not yet fully vaccinated will do so at their earliest opportunity.”
The CEOs of our Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Burlington hospitals, Ontario Hospital Association and the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table are united in the need for mandatory vaccination to enhance safety in hospitals for patients and healthcare workers and reduce the risk of disruptions due to COVID-19. Similar policies have been adopted at hospitals in our region and across the province.
Today, 92.8% of our staff and physicians at Niagara Health are fully vaccinated. We are grateful to the majority of our team members who have been vaccinated. Our progressive approach has moved us closer to our goal of 100% vaccination. However, we have not made enough progress in our vaccination rate at Niagara Health. Full vaccination of our healthcare team is critical to maintain a safe environment for everyone in the hospital.
“Niagara Health is joining many other hospitals and local employers who are requiring people to be vaccinated as a condition of employment,” says Dr. Johan Viljoen, Chief of Staff at Niagara Health. “Hospitals that have already implemented a mandatory policy have experienced a meaningful increase in their vaccination rates. This step is consistent with our announcement in September requiring mandatory vaccination for new hires and volunteers across our hospital sites.”
Niagara Health is actively working to ensure minimal disruptions to service delivery, including assessing operational and staffing impacts and working with our leaders to prepare contingency plans. We recognize that there may be an impact and have considered this carefully in our decision along with the views of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. These experts support mandatory vaccination as it would reduce the risk of staff shortages because fewer employees would be likely to get infected by the virus. Also, hospital workers who aren't vaccinated against the virus are at greater risk of being unable to work for long periods of time if they suffer from an acute or long COVID-19 infection.
Niagara Health will also be implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for visitors unless under exceptional circumstances. This policy will be implemented at a later date, with details communicated to the public in the coming weeks.