March 7, 2022:
Resuming implementation of mandatory vaccination program.
Now that the peak of the fifth wave is behind us, Niagara Health is moving forward with implementation of its mandatory vaccination program.
Last year, Niagara Health announced that all staff and physicians need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to work at Niagara Health. In early January, the Executive Team paused implementation of this policy given the intensity of the fifth wave and the urgent need to focus on the response. At that time, we advised that we remained committed to a fully vaccinated workforce.
We are committed to doing everything possible to keep patients, staff and physicians safe. Vaccinations help to reduce the likelihood of severe COVID-19 disease and/or outcomes and help to minimize the impact on healthcare system capacity.
Although the public health measures are being lifted in the province, hospitals deal with vulnerable people and we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Healthcare workers within Ontario's hospitals are already required to show evidence of immunity for certain communicable diseases at the time of hire.
Niagara Health is united with hospital colleagues in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant and Burlington region in our commitment to having all staff and physicians vaccinated. Moving forward with mandatory vaccination also ensures we align with the approach in long-term care, which includes our Extended Care Unit at the Welland Site.
Jan. 6, 2022:
When our mandatory COVID-19 vaccination program was put in place in October 2021, the Omicron variant was not anticipated. Given the intensity of the fifth wave and the urgent need to focus on our response, Niagara Health’s Executive Team has made the decision to pause implementation of the program.
“We remain committed to a fully vaccinated workforce at our hospital, and we will proceed with the implementation at a later time to be determined,” says President and CEO Lynn Guerriero.
There have been no job losses at the hospital as a result of Niagara Health’s mandatory policy.
Niagara Health runs a Long-Term Care Home in Welland and has followed the mandatory vaccination directive from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, which has resulted in four staff being terminated from the home.
Those who are unvaccinated will continue to be required to participate in regular antigen testing, and our Occupational Health and Safety team is working with them directly.
All staff and physicians will be required to complete screening before every shift and follow our infection prevention and control guidelines to maintain a safe environment for all.