Diane Francis: COVID vaccines must be mandatory for health workers

0
11
Diane Francis: COVID vaccines must be mandatory for health workers


The healthcare system is supposed to care for the sick and vulnerable, but it cannot do so if careless healthcare professionals expose patients to COVID-19

Content of the article

Canada is experiencing a chronic vaccine shortage due to the incompetence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government, but we are also starting to see vaccine hesitancy issues, which are becoming particularly acute in healthcare settings. health. Why are health workers who have refused to be vaccinated allowed to continue working with patients?

Two weeks ago, I learned that planned operations had been canceled for a week at Toronto General Hospital, part of the University Health Network (UHN), following a COVID-19 outbreak among staff. medical.

The incident shocked many doctors. “People in the healthcare industry who choose not to do what is necessary to protect patients is scandalous,” commented one doctor, who asked to remain anonymous.

The situation is so dire that UHN President Dr Kevin Smith sent a note to all 18,000 workers on March 22 stating that: “While our overall turnout is very good, there are areas and programs where immunization remains below 50%. of people. We need to change this immediately.

Content of the article

About 4,000 University Health Network employees had not registered for their vaccine by this date. After the memo was sent, 1,000 more people signed up for vaccines.

This non-compliance is across Canada because institutions cannot legally require workers to be vaccinated, or even tested, supposedly because people have the right not to have medical procedures against their will.

But patients who have consented to medical intervention have the right to be treated by vaccinated healthcare providers. This must be observed immediately and in all areas.

The same situation exists in long-term care facilities, where COVID-19 has been devastating. At Amica Thornhill, a retirement home north of Toronto, the elderly have now been fully vaccinated, but workers have not, said Susan Asa-Katz, the daughter of one of the residents, at the CBC following a personnel outbreak that resulted in a locked-down facility.

She and other members of her family are calling on the Ontario government to require workers in long-term care and retirement homes to be vaccinated. “I believe if you work in a healthcare facility and take care of people and this is the job you signed up for in life, you should absolutely, 100% be vaccinated,” said Josh Horowitz, whose grandmother also lives in Amica.

Content of the article

They said only 75% of the workers at that facility had been vaccinated – but no one knows for sure because employers cannot ask.

Governments cannot allow workers ‘rights to take precedence over patients’ rights. All health care providers in contact with the public should be required to be vaccinated, under threat of service disruption. Nursing homes should also require that all staff and contractors be vaccinated, as a condition of their employment.

It is not without precedent. This week, Italy made the vaccination of health workers compulsory. Those who refuse can be suspended without pay. Some hospitals in the United States also require their staff to receive the vaccine.

If that is not done here in Canada, patients and their families should demand proof that anyone who processes or delivers food, cleans the floor, or takes phone calls in a hospital or nursing home is vaccinated.

The healthcare system is supposed to care for the sick and vulnerable, but it cannot do so if careless healthcare professionals expose patients to COVID-19.

Toronto family doctor and vaccine researcher Dr. Iris Gorfinkel told the CRS she agreed to make vaccinations mandatory. “We have a moral obligation not to infect people and not to make people sick,” she said. “I think patients have a reasonable expectation that they and their loved ones will be safe in healthcare facilities.”

Wise words. Now is the time for provincial governments to act.

Financial post

Read and sign up for Diane’s America newsletter at dianefrancis.substack.com.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here