Alberta Health Services will no longer require proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or regular rapid testing, of its current workers, effective March 10 at 4 p.m.
“We need to make sure that every health-care worker who is available to work, can, which is why we are lifting this mandate,” said Health Minister Jason Copping.
He said Alberta Health Services’ immunization policy was implemented to protect patients, workers and the public earlier in the pandemic.
“However, we are now in a different stage of our response and the overwhelming majority of our health-care workforce understands the importance of getting vaccinated.”
The vast majority of Alberta Health Services (AHS) staff are fully vaccinated – 97.7 per cent of AHS full and part-time employees and 99.8 per cent of physicians. That means AHS sites have strong vaccine protection in place for staff and the patients they care for.
Alberta joins other provinces, such as Manitoba and Quebec, in lifting vaccination or testing mandates for workers.
At the direction of the minister of health, AHS will amend its Immunization of Workers for COVID-19 Policy, effective March 10 at 4 p.m.
Current workers, as defined under the policy, who are unvaccinated and on a leave of absence will be able to return to work after March 10 at 4 p.m. A return to work will be worked out between workers and their workplace leaders.
AHS will continue to assess staffing and work with those who choose not to get immunized to address their concerns, answer their questions, and educate them about the importance of immunization and vaccine safety and effectiveness.
NDP Health Critic David Shepherd disagreed with the government’s decision to end the vaccine requirement, citing concern for Albertans who are in hospital.
“I am deeply disturbed by the UCP’s decision to remove COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health care workers. Albertans who are at most risk to COVID-19 in hospitals should have the assurance that the staff caring for them are vaccinated against this deadly virus,” he said.
“Clinical decisions should be made by healthcare professionals, not desperate politicians.”