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COVID-19: Kitchener hospital issuing suspension notices to unvaccinated staff

St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

St. Mary’s General Hospital says it has begun issuing suspension notices to employees who are not fully vaccinated.

The move comes just days ahead of a deadline for staff to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Over a month ago, the province’s medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore issued a directive that all hospitals needed to have a vaccination policy in place by Sept. 7.

The hospital says it has been working to educate staff as well as answer any questions or concerns on the issue ever since.

“We are doing everything we can to protect the safety of the patients we care for and our staff with this policy,” SMGH president Lee Fairclough stated.

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“We have taken a measured approach since the policy came into effect September 7 understanding that everyone must make their own decision, but that as healthcare providers, it is our duty and responsibility to take every step possible to protect those we care for and those we work with.”

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Fairclough says 98 per cent of staff are currently fully vaccinated, with some of the remaining having indicated they will follow suit.

The hospital has given employees a deadline of Oct. 12 to receive their first jab or they will be placed on unpaid leave the following day.

It says there are plans in place to fill any potential staffing gaps that may follow.

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