The Middlesex Hospital Alliance (MHA) has become the latest in a number of health-care groups to require that visitors and essential care givers be fully vaccinated before entering its sites.
The MHA said the top priority is keeping everyone from patients to staff safe.
The update to the Essential Care Partner Framework Policy will require all visitors, including family and essential care partners show government-issued photo identification and proof of full vaccination before entering a MHA building.
“Our primary responsibility is to those needing care in our hospitals, and for our staff to provide as safe an environment as possible,” a statement from the MHA reads.
“Requiring full vaccination against COVID-19 is an additional layer of protection and is consistent with vaccine requirements in other health-care settings, including our regional hospital partners.”
The new policy will take effect Monday, Nov. 8, for both the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital and Four Counties Health Services.
People will need to be fully vaccinated for at least 14 days to ensure the vaccine has time to take effect.
The MHA said exceptions will be made in some cases for family and essential care partners who can show a valid medical exemption, signed by a doctor or nurse practitioner.
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Clinical exceptions will also be permitted for non-vaccinated family and essential care partners in the case of patients who are children or infants, palliative patients, and patients experiencing an unpredictable or urgent circumstance like the end of life, a mental health crisis, or childbirth.
Support for patients who have a cognitive impairment, developmental or intellectual disability, or language barrier will also be exempt.
A similar policy was announced on Monday by the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), which would require all care partners to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 before they can gain entry.
LHSC’s policy is offering similar exceptions to MHA, including those supporting labouring patients and parents or guardians accompanying children to appointments.
Visitors who fall under the exceptions will also be subject to additional protocols aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Both health agencies have also implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for staff.
LHSC staff had until Oct. 22 to provide proof of vaccination, or proof of accommodated exemption while the MHA has given its staff until Nov. 29.
— with files from Global News’ Andrew Graham