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Quebec extends vaccination deadline for health-care workers to Nov. 15

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 @ 3:43 PM | By Terry Davidson

Quebec is extending its deadline for health-care and social service workers to be fully vaccinated or face suspension.

Quebec’s government made the announcement on Oct. 13 after weeks of reportedly insisting that the vaccination deadline would remain as Friday, Oct. 15.

That deadline has now been extended to Nov. 15. After that, health-care and social service workers not fully vaccinated will face being suspended without pay.

Government officials are saying the extension is necessary to maintain “continuity of services” to residents.

At a press conference, Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services Christian Dubé said keeping the original Oct. 15 deadline could mean the “withdrawal of 25,000 unvaccinated employees,” which he said creates problems.  

“When we had the potential departure of the unvaccinated staff … we find ourselves adding undue pressure on our network — and especially on the vaccinated health workers, who have been at the front for months,” said Dubé, who called the extension a “difficult decision.”

“We want to give the unvaccinated staff extra time to collect their dose. But I want to be clear, we will apply the mandatory vaccination for health-care workers. But postponing the … deadline is the best solution under the circumstances.”   

According to a government news release, the decision was made “following the analysis of the current epidemiological situation.”

“The postponement will mitigate the impact on the continuity of services in the short term, while the health and social services network is currently under pressure,” it states.

However, it stresses that staff not yet fully vaccinated “will be required to undergo a minimum of three COVID-19 tests per week.” During his press conference, Dubé said this would come into force on Oct. 18.

The news release notes “[t]his measure was already in force in the public network, but will also apply in the private network.”

It also states that unvaccinated workers will not receive “various COVID premiums as well as the $15,000 nurse premium.” However, they still have a chance to receive the incentives if they are fully vaccinated over the next 30 days.

Dubé is hopeful that those not adequately vaccinated will “take advantage of this reprieve” and get their full round of shots.  

According to the release, the vaccination rate for health-care workers in the province now sits at 96 per cent.

Dube reportedly said at a news conference that all new hires to Quebec’s health network will have to be adequately vaccinated.

The news of the extension comes days after several hundred people took to the streets of downtown Montreal to protest the Oct. 15 mandatory vaccine deadline.

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