MONTREAL -- Members of the medical community are expressing disappointment after the Quebec government cancelled its vaccine mandate for health-care workers.

Health Minister Christian Dube said Wednesday that carrying through with his threat to suspend unvaccinated employees on Nov. 15 would have reduced health services and compromised efforts to improve working conditions.

Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist at the McGill University Health Centre, says that while Wednesday's decision was clearly "forced," he's worried it's another sign that politics rather than science is guiding the government's actions.

He added that Dube's decision to threaten a vaccine mandate he couldn't implement shows how much the government is disconnected from the day-to-day reality of the health-care network, which has been severely understaffed for years.

Patient advocate Paul Brunet says he's disappointed by the decision, but also resigned to the fact it was necessary.

He says patients are stuck between two bad options: either possibly being treated by an unvaccinated health-care worker, or potentially not being treated at all because of staff shortages.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2021.