Eighteen people at Bluewater Health lose their jobs because they won’t be vaccinated

Emergency Department Nurse Fred Osmon was the first Bluewater Health employee get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Another 25 have a limited time to finish the COVID-19 vaccine

Bluewater Health officials say 18 staff members will lose their jobs because they won’t be vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s less than one per cent of the staff.

Bluewater Health and other hospitals in the region made vaccination against the virus mandatory in September, giving employees until the end of October to be fully vaccinated.

Julia Oosterman, Chief of Communications, says as of Oct. 31, 99 per cent of employees and professional staff, including doctors, dentists and midwives, are fully vaccinated.

Another 18 people have not complied with the policy – four of those people work in full time clinical roles, including nursing and physicians.

Oosterman says 25 others have been given a limited time to complete their vaccine series to return to work.

When Bluewater Health chose to make vaccines mandatory, there was concern the hospital would be left short staffed at a time when it is already difficult to find trained medical staff. Premier Doug Ford as recently as Friday, has said is concerned enough about losing staff that he won’t make the being vaccinated for Ontario’s medical staff a provincial mandate.

Oosterman says the number of people who were terminated is manageable.

“On any given day, it’s not unusual for us to have 20 to 30 employees call in sick; we have 1,900 people in the building…so it’s a very low percentage.

“It’s very much manageable. On top of that, we’ve also been recruiting for these positions.”