Physicians Call for Vaccine Requirements
Doctors Manitoba is recommending a vaccine mandate in the health care sector, and urging other employers in both public and private sectors to strongly consider adopting a similar policy.
“When you consider the threat posed by COVID-19 compared to how safe and effective the vaccines are, requiring employee immunization is a necessary next step,” said Dr. Kristjan Thompson, President of Doctors Manitoba. “This must be a requirement in health care, where it is all workers’ duty to protect the health of their patients. Physicians also recommend other employers strongly consider this policy to keep their staff and the public safe. This not only includes public sector employers like schools, universities and correctional facilities, but also private sector employers in manufacturing, food production, service industries, and other large workplaces.”
Any workplace vaccine requirement must include limited exceptions for individuals who cannot be vaccinated for legitimate reasons. Precautions must be taken to reduce the risk of transmission from and to these exempted unvaccinated individuals. These measures could include:
- Frequent testing;
- Continued use of personal protective equipment (PPE); and
- Potential relocation to be physically distanced away from the public and other workers, or the use of barriers.
“The move is being recommended now, even with the current lower level of transmission, because of the increasing risk of a fourth wave,” explained Dr. Thompson. “It takes several weeks to get two doses and become fully immunized, so implementing this policy now will help to prepare us all for what is coming.” He noted that fourth waves in other countries are being driven by the Delta variant, which is much more transmissible.
“If you still have questions or concerns about getting the vaccine, physicians are here for you,” added Dr. Thompson. “Please call your doctor to discuss your concerns or find a physician near you at ManitobaVaccine.ca. Doctors Manitoba applauds those employers already taking steps to require and promote vaccination, as well as other precautions such as continued mask use.“
Dr. Thompson explained that “no one should be forced to accept any medical intervention, and that includes a COVID-19 vaccine. When that choice risks other people’s lives, however, it should come with repercussions.”
Doctors Manitoba has been active in supporting wider adoption of vaccines and other precautions. These steps include:
- Writing to the Minister of Health on July 28, 2021, to raise the issue of vaccine requirements in health care.
- Surveying physicians to find nearly 9 in 10 (86%) support a vaccine requirement in health care.
- Calling for broader use of the immunization card, in the short term, to create more low-risk opportunities for fully immunized individuals to gather, along with other precautions such as the continued use of masks in public indoor settings.
- Created online vaccine resource and notification system at ManitobaVaccine.ca to help Manitobans find trustworthy information about COVID-19 vaccines and find physicians offering vaccines.