Quebec health workers in regular contact with patients must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk being suspended without pay, provincial officials said Tuesday.
Health Minister Christian Dubé said the measure will apply to employees in the public and private sector — ranging from medical professionals to housekeeping and security staff. It will come into effect on Oct. 15.
“We can’t accept that there are workers who put vulnerable people at risk,” he said.
Visitors and family caregivers will also have to show proof of vaccination to access Quebec hospitals, according to Dubé.
The plan comes after the government held committee hearings on its proposed mandatory vaccination mandate for health-care workers.
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Dubé said he didn’t want to force workers to get vaccinated but that the health network is “already under a great pressure.”
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“It wasn’t an easy decision,” he told reporters in Montreal.
Premier François Legault addressed the evolving fourth wave Tuesday alongside Dubé. Dr. Horacio Arruda, director of Quebec public health, was also on hand.
Novel coronavirus cases and pandemic-related hospitalizations have been on the rise in recent weeks. Quebec reported 515 new infections but no additional deaths Tuesday.
Last week, the government launched its passport vaccination system to access certain non-essential services. Proof of vaccination is needed for any person 13 and older to dine at restaurants or go to the gym, among other activities.
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