Shomporko Online News Desk: Several European countries have made COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for healthcare workers, and as the country progressively reopens, there are mounting calls in Canada to do the same.
Following a surge in cases caused by the fast-spreading Delta variety, France, Greece, and Hungary made COVID-19 immunizations mandatory for healthcare workers earlier this month.
They joined Italy, which, through a government emergency order, became the first European country to require immunizations for health professionals in April.
In Canada, while frontline workers were prioritized to get the vaccines in the rollout across different provinces, many doctors feel it should be a requirement to mitigate the risk of transmission in hospitals.
“It’s really not fair that people go to hospitals or clinics and seek access to health care and their healthcare workers may not be vaccinated,” said Dr. Naheed Dosani, a palliative care physician and health equity lead at Kensington Health in Toronto, Ont.
“That puts them in very precarious and unsafe positions”
Besides putting the patients’ lives in danger, being unvaccinated could also pose a threat to the healthcare workers themselves, Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist and a medical microbiologist at the McGill University Health Centre (MUC), said.
“It should be mandatory to be vaccinated if you are going to work with patients,” he added.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 65,000 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19 in Canada, as of Jan. 15, according to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Some 43 health workers have also died across the country, as of Feb. 19, data from the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union shows.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician at the Toronto General Hospital, said that anyone who comes into contact with patients — not just doctors and nurses — should be vaccinated.
This includes a long list featuring physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, speech language pathologists, and personal support workers, he said.
“If you are going to be patient, you can’t put people who you’re trying to protect, especially the most vulnerable populations, at risk,” he told Global News.
Dosani said that a number of barriers were holding back healthcare workers from getting vaccinated.
Vaccine access, paid sick days for adverse effects, and disinformation were only a few of them. As a result, he said, institutional support was required to boost vaccine uptake.
“I believe we need to focus on one-on-one teaching and counseling, as well as providing paid time off for vaccine side effects,” he said.
“Vaccines must be brought to people’s workplaces.”
Source_ The Star