To protect its patients and the people who care for them, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), along with the majority of hospitals throughout Ontario Health’s Central Region, has implemented mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for staff, physicians, students, volunteers and anyone who does business at the health centre.

“With COVID-19 cases on the rise, fueled by the highly-transmissible Delta variant, along with clear evidence that the vast majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated people, healthcare workers have a responsibility to do everything possible to ensure a safe environment,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO.  “Our communities depend on RVH and our patients and families expect those who take care of them to be immunized. Indeed, the vast majority of our employees and credentialed staff are already fully vaccinated. This is the right thing to do and the best way to protect patients and the people who care for them.”

RVH’s new COVID-19 policy means all health centre employees, credentialed staff, volunteers and learners must be fully vaccinated by October 31, 2021, unless they have been granted a medical exemption or accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code.  Anyone who chooses to remain unvaccinated past that date will face progressive action, including unpaid leave and termination for cause, and restriction, suspension or termination of privileges for credentialed staff.

The new vaccine mandate was unanimously endorsed by RVH’s Senior Leadership Team, Medical Advisory Committee and approved by the Board of Directors. Many associations, including the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Hospital Association are also united in supporting mandatory vaccination of health care workers.

RVH’s vaccine mandate goes beyond the mandatory minimum standards recently announced by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“RVH cares for extremely ill, vulnerable patients who are often immune compromised, and we must do everything possible to keep them and each other safe,” says Dr. Jeffrey Tyberg, RVH Chief of Staff.  “We know the COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing serious illness and death; widespread immunization is our best opportunity to lessen the impact of the pandemic’s fourth wave, protect our patients, and ensure RVH is able to continue providing the services our region depends on.”