The Quebec nurses’ union that represents over 76,000 nurses and health-care workers across the province is “strongly recommending” that its members take the COVID-19 vaccine.
The message comes after hearing that some employees at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre are hesitant.
“We know what COVID-19 is, we know the effect on the population, on our health-care system and on ourselves as health-care workers, so we are strongly recommending to get the vaccination,” said Denyse Joseph, the vice-president of the Quebec Federation of Nurses (FIQ).
Maimonides orderly Maxime Du Pont said some of his colleagues at the long-term care home have gotten the first dose of the vaccine, but he’s not among those who are lining up.
“The only time I’d get a vaccine, at this point, is if it was mandated — in order for me to work,” he said.
Du Pont says he does believe in vaccines, but he feels like not enough is known about this one and its long-term effects.
“It’s still a new vaccine and I feel like my co-workers would like to see more long term impact — maybe a long-term study,” he added.
The nurses’ union said they believe that some of the hesitancy among health-care workers could be because they’re used to working with people who have different viruses and illnesses.
“Health-care workers are used to working day after day with this virus and many others so we need to give them the proper information and we need to give them time,” said Joseph.
Infectious diseases specialist Matthew Oughton said educating health care workers and the general population on the vaccine is critical.
“With any new medical intervention, including a new vaccine, for sure education at multiple levels and ideally in language that different groups can understand (is needed),” he said.
“You’ll have a different discussions with people who are elderly, than you might have with people that are younger. It has to be both clear and targeted.”
The union said they’re confident that the majority of its members will get the vaccine eventually.
Global News reached out to the regional health authority that oversees Maimonides to find out how many employees have gotten vaccinated so far, but they have yet to respond.