On Wednesday, Quebec’s Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that healthcare workers in the province would no longer be placed on suspension if they decided not to be administered with the COVID-19 vaccine as per the federal government’s mandate.
In line with the said government mandate, the province of Quebec previously declared that healthcare workers in the region should have their two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 15. However, the deadline was eventually moved to November 15.
Dubé reported that 97% of active healthcare employees in the province have already been administered with the COVID-19 shots. However, the health minister stressed that they decided not to follow the federal government’s vaccine mandate after observing “big improvements” through the summer when only 80% of the total healthcare staff in Quebec got the jabs.
However, Dubé pointed out that the unvaccinated healthcare workers will still be required to submit themselves for “rigorous” testing thrice a week or face administrative sanctions if they refuse or deliberately disregard it. He also emphasized that all new hires must have the two full shots of the COVID-19 vaccine to be integrated into the local healthcare system.
Quebec’s minister of health revealed that the reason why they are doing away with the federal government’s vaccine mandate is the risk of “devasting consequences” that could take place if the remaining 3% of the unvaccinated workforce is suspended or let go. He pointed out that “at least 500 service reductions” in the province’s healthcare network will ensue if it is followed.
Dubé explained that while some people will perceive this move as “inconceivable,” letting go of 3% of the province’s overall healthcare workforce is simply unthinkable. “You have a morality to protect patients and citizens,” he shared. “You also have to show solidarity with your colleagues.”