Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Releases Details of Enhanced Staff Vaccination Policy
CHATHAM-KENT: September 10, 2021 – Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) and its regional hospital partners were recently among the many hospitals in the province of Ontario that moved forward with a staff vaccination policy. Today, further details are available regarding CKHA’s enhanced staff vaccination policy.
COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly in the community and across the province with the most severe impacts affecting those who are unvaccinated. In Chatham-Kent, just this week over 100 active cases were recorded in the community; this is the first time active cases have reached triple digits since March 2021. The vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients in Erie St. Clair hospitals are not fully vaccinated. This is consistent with the provincial trend.
CKHA recognizes the importance of immunization of staff members, who are considered at high risk for contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of their work. Effective October 31, 2021, all CKHA staff, professional staff, volunteers including Board members, students and contractors will be required to be fully vaccinated. This means that the first dose of a two dose series must 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. Staff that are not fully vaccinated nor have provided a valid exemption by October 31, 2021, will have their employment terminated; or for professional staff; their privileges suspended on an immediate mid-term basis.
“Vaccination is our best defense against this highly contagious virus and the best effort to lessen the impact of a fourth wave which is upon us. We are grateful to all those who have already been vaccinated,” said Lori Marshall, President and CEO, CKHA. “Our enhanced staff vaccination policy ensures the best possible protection for our patients and their families, staff, physicians and the broader community, while reducing the potential risk of COVID-19 amid the delivery of vital health care services.”
Effective September 7, 2021, CKHA was required to implement a COVID-19 vaccination policy as required by the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Directive #6 for public hospitals, which outlines a minimum standard. Under the current policy in place, all employees, credentialed staff, contractors, learners/students, and volunteers are required to provide evidence of full vaccination or the completion of regular testing. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated is required to complete a mandatory education module on the COVID-19 vaccine unless a medical exemption is provided. Today’s announcement of an enhanced staff vaccination policy is consistent with the approach adopted and endorsed by the majority of hospitals across the West and Central regions of the province and exceeds the minimum standards of Directive #6. This enhanced approach is also supported by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association.
“This is the right thing to do to protect us all,” said Dr. Pervez Faruqi, Chief of Staff, CKHA. “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.”
By October 31, 2021, all staff, including the following persons will be required to be fully vaccinated before entering the premises of CKHA and provide documented proof:
- All new hires to CKHA are required to be fully vaccinated on their first day of employment. If not fully vaccinated the new hires’ offer of employment may be rescinded.
- All students who will be performing any component of their education within CKHA must be fully vaccinated before their first day of learning on site at CKHA.
- All volunteers including Board Members who will be on-site at CKHA.
- All contracted service agencies/contractors will attest confirming that staff attending CKHA sites are fully vaccinated; staff of contracted agencies must show proof of full vaccination prior to gaining entry to CKHA sites; a medical exemption may be sought as outlined by Directive #6 in exceptional circumstances; if approved, testing will need to be arranged and discussed prior to the individual attending on hospital property.
- Any other personnel who have office space within CKHA’s buildings and maintain on-site work.
Click here to read the Joint Letter to the Community, released on September 3, 2021.
Fannie Vavoulis, Director Communications
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance