Monday, January 3, 2022

As Omicron surges, understaffed hospitals ease mandates, rehire unvaxxed employees

 After unvaccinated healthcare workers were fired for refusing to comply with vaccine mandates, some are being asked to return to work due to staffing shortages amid increasing COVID-19 cases. 

In Canada, for example, Alberta Health Services announced on Dec. 23 it will allow unvaccinated healthcare workers to resume their jobs starting Jan. 10 if they submit to frequent testing. AHS cited expected increased demands on the health system due to the spread of the Omicron variant for the policy change. As of the date of the announcement, 1,400 healthcare workers who were not fully vaccinated had been placed on unpaid leave. 

AHS said that unvaccinated workers will be responsible for paying for and coordinating their COVID tests, which they must complete no more than 48 hours prior to their shifts. 

Quebec announced on Tuesday that some COVID-positive healthcare workers and other essential employees will be allowed to continue working in order to prevent breakdowns in services, CBC News reported. Healthcare workers who are triple-vaccinated will be prioritized.