Numbers rising, but still not 100%
By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The number of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance employees facing termination for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine has shrunk to 38.
The news from hospital chief executive officer Lori Marshall came late last week as the clock ticks toward the Oct. 31 deadline mandating all employees have the shot.
The policy appears to be having an impact, with 89 per cent of employees now fully vaccinated and another seven per cent partially vaccinated.
Of the physicians at CKHA, 97 per cent are fully vaccinated and 1.5 per cent are partially vaccinated.
At an online media scrum last week, Marshall told reporters 96 per cent of staff will be fully immunized by month’s end.
“We have the intent to be able to say to our community and our organization that everyone who is working on Oct. 31, from that day forward, will be fully vaccinated,” Marshall said.
Hospital staff will continue to work with vaccine hesitant employees on a “case by case” basis, she said, in the event an individual decides to change their mind about taking the shot.
No single segment of the employee population is declining the vaccine, Marshall noted, with the split between casual and full-time to clinical and non-clinical running about 50-50.
The CKHA mandatory vaccine policy follows similar policies at hospitals around the province.
While controversy continues to swirl around the vaccine with protests occurring at hospitals across the country, Marshall said nothing of the sort has happened at either the Chatham or Wallaceburg sites.
“We have not seen that in Chatham-Kent,” Marshall explained, adding the opposite is occurring as the hospital routinely receives expressions of gratitude from the community for its efforts.