TORONTO, Oct. 22, 2021 – The Ontario government is throwing caution to the wind and putting at risk the progress the province has made in keeping the spread of the COVID-19 virus in check.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) says the province’s ability to control the spread of infection as we head into the colder months is being gambled by a reopening plan that lifts capacity limits as of Monday, Oct. 25, and does away with public health measures – including requiring proof of vaccination – as early as January.
RNAO is also gravely concerned the government chose not to announce mandatory vaccination for all health-care workers in all sectors and settings. This directive is already in place for those working in long-term care, with a deadline to comply by Nov. 15. Many acute care hospitals are taking similar action. However, this patchwork approach to policy by the Ford government leaves patients and staff in most hospitals, home care and other community settings at an even higher vulnerability rate if unvaccinated staff leave one setting for another that has more lenient requirements.
Requiring all health-care and education workers to be fully vaccinated is a policy based on evidence, first called for by RNAO in July 2021, and recently supported by the government’s own Science Table. To ignore such advice defies logic, is irresponsible and compromises patient care and staff safety.
RNAO urges people to continue to sign its Action Alert demanding Premier Ford extend mandatory vaccinations to all health-care and education workers and establish safe zones around their places of work. The association argues these are essential measures needed to confront COVID-19 head on.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.