Grand River Hospital: 136 staff, physicians not vaccinated against COVID-19, placed on unpaid leave

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Grand River Hospital in Kitchener says 136 staff members and physicians have been placed on unpaid leave or have had their privileges suspended after choosing not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The region’s largest hospital says this represents 3.2 per cent of its staff, as 4,163 staff and physicians are fully vaccinated while another 63 are partially vaccinated.

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“While we are still reviewing some documents that have come in overnight, we anticipate that 136 staff and physicians will be placed on unpaid leave or have their privileges suspended,” GRH VP Jennifer O’Brien stated Wednesday evening.

“These team members will have until November 9, 2021 to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, at which point their employment status with the hospital will be reviewed and without a valid medical reason for not receiving the vaccine may face termination of employment.”

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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.

On Sept. 1, Waterloo Region and Wellington County hospitals issued a joint announcement that said staff, physicians, students, volunteers and contractors working in the institutions had until Oct. 12 to be vaccinated or they would be put on unpaid leave.

On Monday, the area’s other two hospitals announced their layoffs, with Cambridge Memorial Hospital saying it would be placing 51 staff members and physicians on unpaid leave.

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This represented a small portion of hospital employees as 96.8 per cent of staff and physicians were fully vaccinated.

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It was a similar story at St Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener as it said 98 per cent of staff are currently fully vaccinated, with some of the remaining having indicated they will follow suit.

The hospital said around 30 staff members were to be placed on unpaid leave.

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