October 13, 2021 – Provincial government update on COVID-19
Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Québec government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers postponed to November 15
Christian Dubé, Minister of Health and Social Services, and Lucie Opatrny, Associate Deputy Health Minister responsible for Academic, Medical, Nursing and Therapeutic Affairs, announced that the October 15 deadline for mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers will be extended by one month, to November 15.
“Under the circumstances, postponement of the deadline by 30 days is the best solution to ensure continuity of services and not to put further pressure on our network, and more particularly on its staff,” Mr. Dubé said. “I would like to thank all those who have received the vaccine in the last few weeks. For those workers who have not yet done so, I hope you will take advantage of this reprieve to get vaccinated. Do it for yourself and your loved ones, but also for your colleagues who need you.”
Conditions for unvaccinated healthcare workers
Effective October 18, staff who are not fully vaccinated and who come into contact with patients will be required to undergo a minimum of three COVID-19 tests weekly, a measure that could eventually apply to the private network.
In addition, employees who are not fully vaccinated will not receive the various COVID wage premiums (4% and 8%), nor the recently announced $15,000 bonus for nurses. They will be entitled to these if they agree to be double-vaccinated within the next 30 days.
It should be noted that the vaccination rate among healthcare workers is now 96%.
Serious consequences avoided in the health sector
If the government had maintained the October 15 deadline, 600 acute-care beds and 35 operating rooms in hospitals would have had to be closed. In fact, 80 of the province’s 470 operating rooms are already closed.
In addition, 35% of the CHSLDs (long-term-care centres) would have had to reduce services. “There is no perfect solution,” Mr. Dubé concluded. “I know that this decision may seem very frustrating for already vaccinated healthcare workers and for health network users, but all the scenarios studied to maintain the (original) deadline were too onerous for our network.”