Unvaccinated nurses will have licences suspended Friday, order warns – Montreal Gazette

4,338 nurses are not adequately vaccinated, and 2,807 are not vaccinated at all, according to the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec.

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The Quebec Order of Nurses says it will suspend the licences of nurses who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Among its 80,500 nurses, 4,338 are not adequately vaccinated. There are 2,807 nurses who are not vaccinated at all and another 1,531 who have had one dose, said Luc Mathieu, president of the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec.

The vaccination status of 5,716 other nurses has not yet been verified, he told Radio-Canada in an interview. Those nurses will not be suspended until the order confirms their status.

Roughly 15,000 health-care workers who are not fully vaccinated will be suspended without pay starting Friday, Health Minister Christian Dubé has warned.

Mathieu said nurses have an obligation to protect the public, and getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The suspensions and loss of salary will be enforced until the nurses provide proof that they’re adequately vaccinated.

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“They will have to live with the impact of not being vaccinated on time,” he said.

The decision to suspend nursing licences was made Friday after the order met with officials from the health department. Mathieu has warned ministry officials that suspending nurses could lead to disruptions in service to patients.

Nurses who decide to get vaccinated this week will have to wait 21 days before they can have a second dose.

Some nurses thought Dubé was bluffing when he threatened to suspend unvaccinated health-care workers, Mathieu said, adding that many rushed to get their first dose after Quebec adopted a decree authorizing the vaccine mandate.

The province is undergoing a major reshuffle of its 330,000 health-care workers to alleviate the shortage of workers.

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Dubé has suggested to all professional orders in the health sector that they suspend the licences of members who refuse to be vaccinated.

On Tuesday, a lawyer representing hundreds of health-care workers plans to file a motion asking the Superior Court to temporarily stop the government from going ahead with the suspensions.

Natalia Manole said her clients feel they can still perform their jobs safely and limit the spread of the virus if they’re tested regularly. She says she hopes a judge will hear the case Thursday, the day before the suspensions kick in.

There are myriad reasons her clients haven’t been vaccinated, she said in an interview on Monday.

Some have treated patients who became ill after having been vaccinated, and are concerned about possible vaccine side effects. Others have already had COVID-19 and were not seriously ill and some have treated COVID-19 patients in hospital and have not contracted the virus.

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“Our position is that they’re entitled to make decisions about their own body,” Manole said.

Many health-care workers are “absolutely terrified” about being suspended without pay on Friday, she said.

“Most of them are not going to go back to health care if it stays (this way),” she said. “Some love their jobs and are dedicated; they work so many hours and shifts.”

Manole claims the nursing order has buckled under pressure from the government and is not adequately representing unvaccinated health-care workers. “We are going to include (those) allegations in our motion,” she added.

Dubé took to Twitter Monday saying he welcomed the order’s position. “The signal is clear. It’s not possible to bypass the mandatory vaccination in the health-care network on Oct. 15.”

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The health minister encouraged nurses to get vaccinated as soon as possible. “It’s never too late.”

kwilton@postmedia.com

With files from Presse Canadienne

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    Unvaccinated nurses will have licences suspended Friday, order warns – Montreal Gazette

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