Ottawa

Hospital workers in Ottawa and region mostly vaccinated against COVID-19

Today is the deadline for staff at most Ottawa hospitals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the majority of employees have rolled up their sleeves.

Today is the deadline for workers to be fully vaccinated in most Ottawa hospitals

The Montfort Hospital says the vast majority of its 3,000 employees, including physicians, midwives, volunteers, medical residents and interns, have submitted their vaccine status. The hospital still needs to review that information. (Jonathan Dupaul/CBC)

Today is the deadline for staff at most Ottawa hospitals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the majority of employees have rolled up their sleeves.

Back in August, CHEO, the Montfort Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH), Bruyère, the Royal and The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) all announced they would be implementing COVID-19 vaccination policies for anyone working inside their care facilities.

The deadline for full vaccination at most of those locations is Oct. 15, except for TOH where the deadline is Nov. 1.

Even with a later deadline, 99.6 per cent of physicians and residents, as well as 95 per cent of staff have already received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the hospital.

Alicia Robblee, a registered nurse who works in the hospital's intensive care unit, said she has mostly heard staff support the policy.

"We had a really difficult time in my ICU during the third wave and we cared for a lot of COVID patients and it was terrible. So anything that we can do to prevent that is a positive thing in my view," she said.

Robblee acknowledged it's possible those who aren't supportive have been quiet about it because they're in the minority.

"I know that it's a difficult choice for some people, but I think for the good of our community and for our workplace that it's the right choice to be made to be vaccinated," Robblee said.

ICU nurse Alicia Robblee, left, says she and the majority of her colleagues are in support of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. (Submitted by Alicia Robblee)

The Queensway Carleton Hospital said in August about 90 per cent of its staff and physicians had been fully vaccinated. The hospital is expected to provide updated numbers on Friday, as is CHEO, eastern Ontario's children's hospital in Ottawa.

In a statement to CBC, the Montfort Hospital said the vast majority of its 3,000 employees, including physicians, midwives, volunteers, medical residents and interns, have submitted their vaccine status.

Hospital spokesperson Geneviève Picard said a status report is expected on or before this coming Monday after all information is reviewed by the hospital.

The Bruyère hospital, which provides specialized hospital care, long-term care, and assisted and independent living for seniors said it is still compiling numbers, but more than 90 per cent of its staff are fully vaccinated. 

The Royal said 97 per cent of it's 905 full-time staff members are also fully vaccinated.

Quebec recently extended the Oct. 15 deadline for mandatory health worker vaccination by one month to give workers more time to get their shots.

Currently, 93 per cent of Quebec health-care workers are fully vaccinated, but that still leaves almost 22,000 facing suspension because they have had only a single dose or remain unvaccinated.

Vaccination rates in smaller hospitals

Outside the city of Ottawa, smaller scale hospitals with an Oct. 15 vaccination deadline also say they're in good shape.

Dr. Alan Drummond, a family and emergency physician at the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, said health-care providers have an "absolute obligation" to protect their patients from the potential of them passing on the virus.

"Given the extent of the impact of this, this pandemic on Canada as a national entity, I think it's your patriotic duty as a citizen to get vaccinated," Drummond said.

WATCH | Majority of Ottawa-area hospital staff fully vaccinated as deadline arrives 

Majority of Ottawa-area hospital staff fully vaccinated as deadline arrives

2 months ago
0:55
Dr. Alan Drummond, an emergency room physician at the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, says health care providers have an obligation to get vaccinated in order to keep patients safe — and those unwilling to do so should find other careers. 0:55

In August, when the hospital announced its policy, interim president and CEO Nancy Shaw said more than 90 per cent of staff and physicians had already been fully vaccinated.

Despite being in a community with one of the lowest vaccination rates in Ontario, the Cornwall Community Hospital said 100 per cent of its physicians are vaccinated, as well as about 98 per cent of staff.

The hospital expects a total of 33 staff members will be placed, or continue on, unpaid leave and potentially face loss of employment.

President and CEO Jeanette Despatie said in a statement there will be no staffing-related disruptions to patient care, and the decision to roll back non-urgent scheduled surgeries is not due to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

"Contingency plans were developed weeks in advance of the policy deadline allowing us to very much accommodate all gaps in our scheduling," Despatie said.

Last month, the Winchester District Memorial Hospital said it had already reached 100 per cent vaccination of medical staff and volunteers, and 97 per cent of its employees.

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