Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Provides Update on Enhanced Staff Vaccination Policy
CHATHAM-KENT: November 1, 2021 – Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) and its regional hospital partners were among several hospitals in the province of Ontario that moved forward with a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy (“policy”) for its staff, physicians and volunteers. Following the policy deadline of October 31, 2021, further details are now available regarding CKHA’s policy.
The enhanced policy was unanimously approved by CKHA’s Board of Directors and is part of a progressive plan to ensure that all staff, professional staff, volunteers including Board members, students and contractors are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have a valid exemption. The deadline to be fully vaccinated was October 31, 2021. This means that the first dose of a two dose series was to be received by September 18, 2021, with a subsequent dose no later than October 17, 2021 in order to be deemed fully vaccinated by October 31, 2021. As per the policy, staff that are not fully vaccinated nor have provided a valid exemption by October 31, 2021, were to have their employment terminated. Physicians who have not complied with the policy will be reviewed by CKHA’s Medical Advisory Committee. Upon this review, physicians who have not complied with the policy will be notified that their privileges have been suspended on an immediate mid-term basis (with a recommendation going forward that their privileges be revoked/terminated) and the related by-law process will be followed.
The enhanced policy is required to protect CKHA’s patients, colleagues, and community and to support the hospital’s ability to provide vital health care services to the citizens of Chatham-Kent during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as described in detail in the Letter to the Community from CKHA and its regional hospital partners published on September 3, 2021. The policy follows Directive #6 implemented by the Provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health.
CKHA is pleased to announce that 1,293 or 98% of its staff are fully vaccinated or have complied with the policy. As of October 31, 2021, 26 staff and 1 physician have not complied with the policy. The nursing (registered nurses, registered practical nurses and nurse practitioners) compliance rate with the policy is 97.7%. Of these staff who have not complied with the policy, 16 are considered clinical staff and 10 are considered non-clinical staff. The unvaccinated staff were spread across multiple programs and departments.
Staff who have not complied with the policy, are being or have already been informed that their employment has been terminated. The terminated staff have not been working at CKHA since October 31, 2021. Recruitment strategies to backfill these positions has been in place for some time to respond to the potential terminations.
“Our decision to implement a mandatory vaccination policy was to instill confidence in our community and organization that CKHA is a safe place to both receive and deliver care,” said Lori Marshall, President and CEO, CKHA. “Although this is a difficult day at CKHA as we say goodbye to valued members of our team, these actions will help reduce the potential for outbreaks, service interruptions and provide an even safer hospital environment for all.”
“This progressive policy ensures that we are doing everything possible to limit the spread of this highly contagious virus. Our patients and families deserve the best protection we can provide and will take comfort in knowing that their care team has been fully vaccinated. I want to thank our staff, physicians and volunteers who recognize the importance of COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Pervez Faruqi, Chief of Staff, CKHA.
Emily Field, Communications Specialist
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance