Toronto ICU doctor calls on Ford to reverse ‘bad decision’ on vaccine mandate for hospital workers

A Toronto ICU physician says Premier Ford needs to reverse his decision not to mandate vaccinations for healthcare workers.

Dr. Michael Warner, the director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, took to Twitter following what he calls “a bad decision” by the provincial government to leave the decision of vaccine mandates for hospital workers in the hands of individual hospitals.

“If you work in healthcare, you need to be vaccinated. Full stop,” said Warner. “It’s the best way to protect yourself, your colleagues and your patients and the premier should stand behind this.”

The decision went against a recommendation last month from Ontario’s science table which called for mandatory vaccinations for all healthcare workers in order to enhance safety, reduce the risk of staffing disruptions, and protect people working to treat others.

Warner also took issue with Ford’s reasoning that by issuing a mandate he would be jeopardizing the health of Ontarians because “tens of thousands” of healthcare workers would be forced off the job.

“If you have a blanket policy that covers home care, long-term care, hospitals, clinics – everywhere that a patient receives care, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to have mass exodus of health care workers because there will be no other place to work if you’re unvaccinated,” he said.

“Instead, by saying that its not important to be vaccinated if you work in health care, it really placates the anti-science, anti-vaccination crowd.”

RELATED: Ford won’t mandate vaccines for frontline hospital staff

When asked where the Premier was getting that number, Health Minister Christine Elliott said it was based on old information.

“That was a number that was based on the Premier’s understanding of the situation before the letter was sent out,” she said when questioned by reporters at Queen’s Park.

The Ontario Hospital Association said 120 of 141 hospitals in the province supported a province-wide mandatory hospital worker policy while the Ontario Nurses’ Association has argued that the current standard allowing unvaccinated workers to be tested is reasonable.

“The premier needs to change his message, he needs to change his decision – in fact, mandate vaccinations for ALL domains where patients receieve care, whether it be home care, long-term care, hospitals or clinics because that’s the right thing to do,” said Warner.

Ontario has mandated COVID-19 vaccination for long-term care workers, with a deadline of Nov. 15 for staff to get immunized.

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