In Central zone, 93.5 per cent of AHS staff have acted on the mandatory requirement for inoculations. (Black Press Media file photo)

In Central zone, 93.5 per cent of AHS staff have acted on the mandatory requirement for inoculations. (Black Press Media file photo)

AHS workers in Central zone have lowest vaccination compliance rate in Alberta

93.5 per cent of Red Deer-area health employees got mandatory vaccinations by Nov. 30

More than 93 per cent of Alberta Health Services workers in Central zone got double vaccinationed before the mandatory Nov. 30 deadline.

But this is the lowest compliance rate of all AHS zones in the province.

In Central zone, 93.5 per cent of AHS staff acted on the mandatory requirement for inoculations, compared to Calgary zone (97.5 per cent), Edmonton zone (97.2 per cent), south zone (95.3 per cent) and north zone (93.7 per cent).

On average, more than 96 per cent of full-time and part-time AHS staff, and more than 99 per cent of physicians, are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“AHS is grateful to all staff, physicians, and volunteers that have been immunized against COVID-19,” the organization stated on Wednesday.

The 6.5 per cent of Red Deer-area AHS workers who have not complied with the mandatory vaccine policy can can either leave their jobs, or ask to be placed on unpaid leave, stated AHS.

Only a few of the unvaccinated employees work in specialized medical areas where their absence from the job could impact patient care, said AHS.

In these few cases, AHS has decided to allow temporary COVID tests to be provided by the workers in lieu of vaccinations. The policy deadline for staff to be fully immunized was also adjusted to Dec. 13 to accommodate the introduction of the testing option.

Starting on Dec. 13, negative COVID tests will be accepted from “a very small number of eligible workers” at certain clinical work locations. These workers, who are not fully immunized, will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test that’s been completed no more than 48 hours before each of their working shifts — at their own cost.

A list of locations where negative COVID test results will be allowed will be made available by Dec. 13 as AHS is still finalizing details.

“Patient care has always been and will continue to be the focus of the mandatory immunization policy,” Alberta Health Services stated on Wednesday. “AHS stands by its immunization policy… (we) must do all (we) can to ensure patients, particularly the vulnerable and immuno-compromised, are protected while in our care.”

The few employees who will be eligible to provide negative COVID test results will be notified soon, said AHS. The temporary testing directive will be reviewed before the end of March.

Coronavirus