Hospitals, schools, LTC and paramedics will have to have vaccine plans by Sept 7

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Province offering third shot for LTC residents and some critically ill people but won’t mandate vaccines

Vaccinations are a “ticket of safety” during the fourth wave according to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and he’s is ordering health care and schools to have vaccination plans in place.

But there will be no mandatory vaccinations, even though he thinks it will be a “difficult fall and winter” because of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Hospitals, long term care homes, and community care service providers in Ontario will have to have a vaccination policy in place by Sept. 7.

And schools will have to have a vaccination disclosure policy.

Dr. Keiran Moore announced Tuesday afternoon hospitals, home care, and community care services will have to policy where workers will provide proof of either full vaccination, a medical reason for not being vaccinated or proof they’ve completed a vaccination education session starting Sept. 7.

People who don’t provide proof of full vaccination will have to take regular rapid tests.

“We need an alternative,” says Moore even though he says immunization is a “ticket to safety.

“We need to be proactive to avoid reactive measures…every shot in arms is our best shot out of this.”

In schools and child care, congregate group homes, women’s shelters, retirement homes in both public and private sectors will have to have a vaccination policy. Staff who aren’t vaccinated will also have to have weekly rapid tests at a minimum.

But Moore continues to push for the highest rate of immunization possible. Right now, 81 per cent of Ontarians have their first shot and are nearing 75 per cent of Ontarians with two doses.

“We need the highest rate of immunization in our community to protect our children and our schools,” says Moore.

Moore says the most vulnerable in society will be offered a third shot including people in long term care and some cancer patients.

And children who are turning 12 this year will be able to get their shots. Until now, the children had to actually reach their 12th birthday.

While the province is putting parameters around vaccine use and said mandatory vaccines are not of part of the policy.

Moore says educating people is “consistent” with Ontario’s immunization policies. “Education has always been a strong component of our policy.”

“Obviously my hope and my wish that everyone take advantage of the vaccine. It’s our best shot as we head into a fall and winter of Delta.”

The Chief Medical Officer of Health added the provincial announcement was “the minimum” guidelines. Moore said provincial officials are willing to work with public and private sector employers who think there should be more stringent measures.

Moore also told reporters the province won’t be opening businesses further right now. Under the Roadmap to Reopen, the province would be fully open with no restrictions when there is 75 per cent of the population with two vaccines.

Moore calls the Delta variant a “formidable foe” and people have to continue masking in public settings, washing hands, covering coughs and monitoring our system.

“The vaccine is excellent but no vaccine is 100 per cent.”

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