Quebec delays vaccine mandate for health-care staff by one month, fearing staffing disaster

After weeks of insisting Quebec would go forward and impose a vaccination mandate for health-care staff and droop those that do not comply with out pay, the province’s health minister, Christian Dubé, has backtracked and is now giving them an additional month to get adequately vaccinated.

Health-care staff now have till Nov. 15 to get the required pictures. The authentic deadline was this Friday.

Dubé says 96 per cent of health staff have acquired not less than one vaccine dose, however with 21,900 staff nonetheless not adequately vaccinated, the health system would not be capable of deal with dropping a lot employees.

He mentioned the choice to push again the vaccination deadline for health-care staff was “difficult”, however one that was essential to keep away from “hitting a wall” when it got here to offering health-care providers to Quebecers.

“I have the responsibility to protect the health-care network of Quebecers,” Dubé mentioned throughout a information convention on Wednesday. “The risk right now is too high, and it would be irresponsible to roll the dice with the health of Quebecers.”

In the meantime, beginning Monday, employees who should not adequately vaccinated will have to endure a minimal of three COVID-19 screening assessments per week. This measure was already in pressure within the public community, however will additionally apply within the non-public services.

Nurses who should not adequately vaccinated by Nov. 15 will not be eligible for the monetary bonuses of as much as $18,000 as a part of Quebec’s plan to entice and retain nursing employees to repair the staffing disaster within the health-care community. They will solely obtain their premiums in the event that they get double vaccinated throughout the subsequent 30 days.

All new hires within the health community will have to be adequately vaccinated, Dubé added.

“This decision can be very frustrating for health-care workers that are already vaccinated. It can also be frustrating, shocking, for users in the network that want a safe environment,” Dubé mentioned.

“We want to apply mandatory vaccinations for health-care workers, but not at the expense of our ability to treat citizens.”

Dubé’s tone was noticeably completely different from the one he had about 24 hours in the past, when he doubled down on the Friday deadline, saying there can be “no change” on the government’s plan to implement the necessary vaccine mandate. 

During Wednesday’s information convention, alongside Quebec’s affiliate deputy health minister Dr. Lucie Opatrny, Dubé mentioned “under the circumstances, postponing the 30-day deadline is the best solution to ensure the continuity of services and not to add more pressure on our network, and more particularly on its staff.”

Opatrny mentioned 35 working rooms and a few 600 hospital beds within the province would have needed to be closed if the Friday deadline was maintained.

She added the variety of unvaccinated staff just isn’t unfold out equally throughout the province and throughout departments, noting an instance where one lab had 4 out of six technicians who have been unvaccinated. She mentioned staff would have to have been shifted to accommodate the lack of staff in vital care providers. 

Dubé had a message for unvaccinated health-care staff forward of the new deadline: “I hope you will take advantage of this reprieve to get yourself vaccinated.

“Do it for your self and your family members, but additionally for your colleagues who want you.”

Health-care union applauds decision 

The Fédération de la Santé du Québec (FSQ-CSQ), which represents more than 5,000 nurses, respiratory therapists and nursing assistants, said it was pleased with the province’s postponement of the deadline. 

Quebec made the “accountable resolution,” said FSQ-CSQ president Claire Montour.

“Dubé appears to have listened to the message despatched by the health unions final week,” said Montour. “We now encourage all our members to benefit from this further time to finish their vaccination.”

For weeks, unions have expressed concern for vaccinated staff within the system who can be compelled to shoulder the additional burden left by the suspended staff.

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