Sudbury's hospital terminated 53 staffers for not getting COVID-19 vaccine
Health Sciences North said Wednesday that a total of 53 full- and part-time staff have been terminated for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The staff members were fired Nov. 29-30. They include 14 full-time employees, 32 part-time employees and seven casual workers, representing 1.4 per cent of all HSN employees.
In a news release, HSN said it revised its vaccination policy Nov. 1 to make it mandatory for all current employees, professional staff, learners and volunteers be vaccinated.
"At that time, HSN had 266 or seven per cent of its employees who had yet to provide evidence of first dose of COVID-19 vaccination," the release said.
"On Nov. 15, HSN had 76 or two per cent of its employees who were not compliant with the mandatory vaccination policy and who were put on unpaid leave."
Those terminated include 17 nurses, nine paramedical workers, 15 service staff, nine clerical staff and three non-union workers.
"HSN respects the decision of these unvaccinated employees who, for reasons that are personal to them, chose to leave the organization," the release said.
"The number of terminations was within the range HSN expected based on the experience of other Ontario hospitals that implemented mandatory COVID-19 vaccination."
For context, the hospital said in the last 12 months, HSN hired 788 new employees and 1,300 of its employees are eligible to retire in the next five years.
"One hundred per cent of credentialed professional staff, learners and active on-site volunteers at HSN are now vaccinated," HSN said.
And 99.7 per cent of active employees are vaccinated, with one employee with an approved medical exemption and 12 other exemptions pending approval.
"The staff with approved or pending exemptions are required to submit rapid antigen test results twice per week," the release said.
Employees who have only their first dose are required to provide evidence of their second dose of COVID-19 vaccination by January. The hospital said that follows the most recent guidance from the Ministry of Health, which now recommends an eight-week interval between first and second doses of vaccine.
The nine paramedical workers affected by the termination were not city paramedics.