In a statement on Tuesday, Alberta Health Services said medical and scientific evidence confirms that being fully immunized mitigates potential harm from COVID-19. (Advocate file photo)

In a statement on Tuesday, Alberta Health Services said medical and scientific evidence confirms that being fully immunized mitigates potential harm from COVID-19. (Advocate file photo)

All Alberta Health Services front-line employees, contractors must be vaccinated this fall

Medical exemptions will be accommodated, stated AHS

Alberta Health Services is implementing an immunization policy for physicians, staff and contracted providers.

AHS is requiring that all employees and contracted healthcare providers – including physicians and other frontline healthcare workers – be fully immunized against COVID-19, by Oct. 31.

It’s being called “a necessary step,” needed to protect patients, vulnerable and immuno-compromised Albertans.

Medical and scientific evidence confirms that being fully immunized mitigates potential harm from COVID-19. Alberta Health Services stated, “Healthcare workers have an ethical and professional responsibility to protect others. Vaccination is a tool to assist in meeting this standard.”

This new policy will apply to all Alberta Health Services facilities, Alberta Precision Labs, Carewest, CapitalCare and Covenant Health employees, as well as members of the medical and midwifery staffs, students, and volunteers, “and any other other persons acting on their behalf.”

Contracted continuing care providers and contracted healthcare workers are included. “Additional details with specific compliance requirements for other contracted service providers, such as continuing care, will be communicated directly to those… service providers.”

But any employee who is unable to be immunized due to a medical reason or for another protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act “will be reasonably accommodated.”

AHS states that this policy will be finalized following a period of union/stakeholder consultation.

The latest an AHS employee/contractor can receive a second dose of the vaccine and be in compliance with the new policy is Oct. 16. This allows for the two weeks that must pass to be considered fully immunized.

“This is an extraordinary but necessary measure to help protect our vital frontline healthcare teams and help us maintain a safe environment for all patients and clients” said Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services.

“Over the last year and a half, our teams have continued to provide incredible care to anyone who needs it, under extremely trying circumstances. We are grateful for their efforts and are committed to ensuring the safety of our facilities.”

AHS stated that immunization against COVID-19 is the most effective means to prevent the spread of COVID-19, to prevent outbreaks at health facilities, to preserve workforce capacity to support the healthcare system, and to protect workers, patients, visitors and others accessing AHS facilities.

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