By October 15th all SHA workers are expected to submit their declaration form stating their vaccination status, whether they intend to do test monitoring at their own cost or seek an accommodation for religious or medical exemption.
SHA Physician Executive, Integrated Rural Health Dr Kevin Wasko says the rollout is being done in a phased manner.
“Over the next two weeks, will be an opportunity for [all SHA] team members, to be able to provide a declaration about their intention to be immunized. Whether they are immunized, whether they plan to seek an accommodation or whether they are opting for the supervised or monitored testing program.”
He notes the finer details of the test monitoring are being worked out, but essentially testing will be required prior to coming to work and will be at the employee’s expense.
Wasko says they do not have an exact count of unvaccinated staff and doctors, but estimate that one in five SHA staff is unvaccinated. He pointed out that their primary concern is to protect the people they serve and that vaccination is the most effective way to protect health care workers and prevent outbreaks at SHA facilities.
The SHA says that there have been several cases where unvaccinated staff have introduced COVID into SHA operations.
As to whether the unions representing SHA staff are on board with the vaccine policy, Wasko spoke about the consultation process.
“I do know that there was understanding as why we needed this policy. There was understanding of the measures that we were putting in place and that the consultation did occur.”
CUPE Local 5430 has posted on its website that as of Wednesday September 29, they did not have sufficient information to assess the SHA vaccine policy, that they are expecting an update from the SHA and will hold a meeting for members next Thursday October 7th.