Legault opens door to another delay for mandatory vaccines among health-care workers
QUEBEC CITY -- Premier François Legault opened the door on Monday to another postponement of the mandatory vaccination of health-care workers.
In a series of interviews given in the morning, he mentioned the shortage of personnel to justify a possible postponement of the Nov. 15 deadline.
Originally, all Quebec health-care workers had to be properly vaccinated by Oct. 15 or risk being suspended without pay.
The Legault government was unable to carry out the threat because it would have deprived the system of approximately 22,000 workers, putting too much pressure on services.
Health Minister Christian Dubé ended up extending the deadline to Nov. 15.
According to the government's most recent report, 19,634 health and social services workers are still not adequately vaccinated, including 13,714 who have not received any doses.
On Monday, Legault suggested in an interview on 98.5 FM that mandatory vaccination would not be imposed on the entire network, but rather on certain sectors, in certain regions.
"We hope to be able to apply the decree. We will certainly be able to apply it in certain places," he said. "In the emergency room, it is certain that it must be applied because there is a very close contact with the patients. There are areas where we will be able to implement it."
"What we want is to apply it everywhere," said Legault went on to point out that only 3 per cent of nurses have refused the vaccination, but "it's a 3 per cent that we need because we're already short of 4,000," he said.
On QUB radio, the premier said that "it will depend a lot on the recruitment of nurses," before adding: "There are surely some groups where there will be no carry-over."
Quebec is offering bonuses of $12,000 to $18,000, for a total of up to $1 billion, to bring at least 4,000 nurses back into the public health care system in the coming months.
Dubé recently said 1,756 people had accepted the offer: 58 were retired, 351 were from private agencies and 1,347 were part-time and moved to full-time.
- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 25, 2021.