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The Ottawa Hospital places 186 staff on unpaid leave due to COVID-19 vaccine status

The Ottawa Hospital announced that as of Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, patients are permitted one fully vaccinated visitor at a time. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Unvaccinated staff at The Ottawa Hospital have come up against the local institution’s COVID-19 vaccination deadline as of Monday, with nearly 200 staff put on unpaid leave under the policy.

A spokesperson for The Ottawa Hospital said Monday that 99 per cent of staff, physicians and nurses at the city’s largest hospital are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with both shots.

But a total of 186 employees — a mix of full-time, part-time and casual — are now on unpaid leave, the spokesperson said.

Read more: More than 3,000 unvaccinated health workers in B.C. on unpaid leave, Dix says

These staff will be welcomed back if they become fully vaccinated in the future.

“It is essential that we do our part to increase our community vaccination rate above 90 percent, the threshold identified by experts to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19. Hospitals have a moral obligation to lead by setting the highest vaccination standard possible,” the hospital’s statement read.

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As of Monday, 87 per cent of the city’s eligible population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Ottawa Public Health.

The 186 affected employees is below the 318 workers who received reminder letters about the looming deadline two weeks ago.

The Ottawa Hospital’s Nov. 1 cut-off date was the last of major health-care organizations in the city.

CHEO, Bruyère, Montfort and the Queensway Carleton Hospital all placed unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave as of Oct. 15, with more than 200 staff affected across those organizations.

CHEO, the local paediatric hospital, said in an update Friday that ultimately 23 staff had made the choice not to get vaccinated and won’t be working there in the future. Nine of those staff were full-time.

Of the hospital’s 4,000 staff, three have received medical exemptions to vaccination.

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