Saskatchewan Health Authority to Require Proof of Full COVID-19 Vaccination for Health Care Workers
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has developed a Proof of Full COVID-19 Vaccination policy that will require all current SHA team members to provide proof of full vaccination beginning October 1, 2021, with a phased approach.
The SHA maintains a commitment to safety, including safety of its employees, physicians, patients, families and partners. The need for this policy is a result of the significant risks mounting from the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant and a necessary step to protect health care teams and the patients, residents and families they serve.
“We are implementing this policy now because we do not believe that we can provide a safe workplace any longer without our health care teams being fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Dr. Kevin Wasko, Physician Executive, Integrated Rural Health.
The Delta variant is dominant in the province causing unprecedented stress on our provincial health system. Saskatchewan has seen more than a one thousand per cent increase in COVID cases since early July. There is significant evidence that unvaccinated individuals are contributing to exposures (causing transmission) including in health care settings. Mandatory vaccination is a way to make the workplace as safe as possible in this situation.
There have been multiple scenarios recently where unvaccinated team members have introduced COVID-19 infection into the settings we serve across the SHA, resulting in COVID-19 exposures and infections.
Despite efforts to make vaccination as easy as possible, one in five healthcare workers are not vaccinated. Unvaccinated team members put themselves, patients, and the health system at very high risk. Given the vulnerability of the people we serve, directly and indirectly, SHA must take formal action to ensure everyone in the system is protected.
SHA team members will be required to submit a declaration form regarding their vaccination status, intention to enroll in the monitored testing program at their own cost or intention to seek accommodation by October 15, 2021. All current SHA team members will be required to submit their proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status in early November, 2021. More information on this process will be shared as it is available.
“Vaccination against COVID-19 is the most effective means to protect our health care workers, prevent outbreaks in SHA facilities, protect those we serve and preserve workforce capacity to protect the stability of our provincial health system.” Dr. Wasko adds. “Our first and foremost priority is the health and safety of our members both at work and in their communities. We continue to strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19.”