Covid-19 Vaccination

Michael Garron Hospital supports COVID-19 mandatory vaccine for healthcare workers, policy effective today, Nov. 4

*Vaccination numbers updated as of Nov. 10, 2021

The following message was shared with all MGH staff and physicians today, Nov. 4, on behalf of Sarah Downey, president and CEO; Ian Fraser, Chief of Staff; Dr. Jeff Powis, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control.

As of today, Nov. 4,  all Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) staff and affiliates were asked to initiate vaccination for COVID-19, with the expectation to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 25, 2021.

MGH staff and affiliates include:

  • Full-time and part-time employees
  • Credentialed professionals, such as physicians, midwives and dentists
  • Volunteers
  • Students and learners
  • Board members
  • Contract workers
  • Any other person working on behalf of another business or entity operating at MGH

We want to clarify that the decision by the Ontario government not to mandate vaccines for healthcare workers provincially does not impact MGH’s decision to implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy effective today, Nov. 4.

The Ontario government has asked individual hospitals to make this decision for their colleagues. Mandatory vaccination of hospital workers is widely supported by hospitals in Ontario with 120 out of 141 hospitals signing an OHA letter of support to the Premier, including MGH, and many more sending their own. 

Ontario hospitals are committed to doing everything possible to keep patients and staff safe and we are unified in our goal to vaccinate all healthcare workers to protect our teams against COVID-19.

96 per cent of MGH staff are vaccinated against COVID-19

We have seen firsthand how vital vaccinations are in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and its devastating effects in our communities. We are proud to share that as of today, Nov. 4, approximately 96 per cent of our workforce made the important decision to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated not only protects you against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, it protects your patients, colleagues and loved ones, too. Our deepest thanks to every hospital worker at MGH who chose to get vaccinated and protect our hospital community from a disease that has taken so much from us during the past 20 months.

COVID-19 vaccine: A bright light in this pandemic

As of today, approximately 34 full-time and 59 part-time and casual employees remain unvaccinated and were placed on unpaid leaves. We appreciate this decision can be complex for some individuals who may feel conflicted about the vaccine. We also know in the short-term, the placement of staff on unpaid leave adds to the difficult issue of workforce shortages that existed before COVID-19 and are amplified because of the pandemic. 

But every day, clients, patients and family members put their trust in us; when they are most sick and vulnerable, they turn to us to keep them healthy, well and safe. We have a duty to the people we care for and support – and the unfortunate reality is that we cannot do this if COVID-19 is still in our community. And, our colleagues expect to be kept as safe as possible when they come to work by ensuring that their teammates are vaccinated. Vaccination against COVID-19 allows for greater protection and assurances as we work together in close spaces and get back to face-to-face meetings and educational programs.

The best tool to stop the spread of COVID-19 is the vaccine. This is why we commit to doing everything we can to work with our valued colleagues to help them understand the benefits of the vaccine; and why we will continue to encourage them to get vaccinated so they can get back to the community and people we know they care deeply about.

Focusing on employee well-being, safety and satisfaction

We know that the coming weeks will present challenges for our teams across the hospital as we work to fill shifts and operate units that are catching up on delayed care from COVID-19, in addition to the added pressures of the imminent flu season.

Staffing shortages were challenging before the pandemic and are now compounded by the impacts of the past 20 months. We know that you and your teams are exhausted from this pandemic and this policy adds a short-term component of stress to our already fragile system; but we are determined to get through this together as quickly and safely as possible. 

Recruiting and filling vacancies is our number one priority. We are actively working on ways to bring in top talent into our organization through new and innovative recruitment efforts and earlier this fall, we began focus groups and surveys to get your feedback on how to improve our practices in the workplace. This includes: scheduling, staffing models and building supportive environments that improve work-life balance and increase flexibility for employees. We look forward to sharing the results in the coming weeks and beginning to implement sustainable changes that will support job satisfaction and overall employee well-being. We also encourage you to access the confidential and free Employee and Family Assistance Program.

Our commitment to you

While a mandatory vaccine policy for individual staff comes with many complexities and considerations – the decision to mandate vaccinations for healthcare workers is the right choice to provide the greatest protection to the most people.

We commit to continuing to create the safest environments possible for our staff and patients and this policy is one more way to safeguard each and every one of you. Thank you for your continued work and support during these difficult times. We are so proud to be a part of an organization that is so committed to creating health and building community in East Toronto.

With gratitude,

Sarah, Ian and Jeff

Sarah Downey
President and CEO

Dr. Ian Fraser
Chief of Staff

Dr. Jeff Powis
Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control

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