RNAO calls for the government to shift its focus back to protecting Ontarians through vaccination

TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2021. At a time when long-term care (LTC) residents are still being infected and dying from COVID-19 because of unvaccinated health-care workers, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) says the provincial government's announcement Friday should have been about mandatory vaccination for all health-care workers. Instead, it was about raising capacity limits for sporting events.

LTC homes across Ontario have faced the brunt of the pandemic with 3,826 residents who have died as of Sept. 24. "This shameful legacy of bad policy – especially during the first and second waves – cannot repeat in this fourth wave given that vaccines are abundantly and readily available for all eligible Ontarians," says Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO's CEO.

The government took an important step by implementing vaccine certificates. Now, it must ensure a consistent province-wide government directive for mandatory vaccination for all health-care workers and education staff. "These same workers must show proof of vaccine to enter a gym or a restaurant. Yet that same requirement to be fully vaccinated does not apply in all health settings, nor does it apply in our schools, colleges and universities. This is nonsensical," adds Grinspun.

RNAO calls on Premier Ford and Ministers Christine Elliott, Rod Phillips, Stephen Lecce and Jill Dunlop, to immediately implement government-led mandatory vaccination of all health-care workers and all education staff in Ontario. "It is an essential public health measure to help us in our fight against COVID-19 and a critical tool to protect people needing health care and to protect students given the highly transmissible Delta variant," says RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth.