Fewer than 1,300 city employees face suspension over Toronto’s vaccine mandate deadline

Procedure to ban unvaccinated kids was introduced after the city saw the number of whooping cough cases more than triple

Fewer than 1,300 city employees face suspension over Toronto’s vaccine mandate deadline

The number of Toronto city employees facing possible suspension for ignoring a soon-to-be-mandatory vaccination measure may be as few as 99, officials have said.

But health workers say the number could rise as far as 20,000, compared with 1,403 affected by Wednesday’s deadline for workers to get fully vaccinated by September. That number includes only employees who are staff members of the municipal government, school board and the Toronto public health agency.

Toronto city council demands ‘monumental change’ over vaccine policy Read more

Most of those 21,000 are senior managers who receive bonuses based on how many employees are vaccinated and are targets of the policy, which places severe restrictions on the ability of unpaid absences without permission to collect such bonuses, according to a report by Dr Theresa Tam, the city’s top public health official.

Hospitals said Wednesday that they also feared that employee or family members could put patients in danger by refusing to get vaccinated.

Toronto’s inspector general, who is not empowered to fine or suspend employees, has assessed almost 4,000 employees, a majority of them on the health board, Tam said. Police and firefighters also are governed by mandates requiring vaccinations.

At a Toronto City Council meeting Tuesday, representatives of employees and their unions protested against the mandate and backed a motion by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam that would “slow down the process of severely constraining employee benefits” and extend the deadline for changing a supervisor’s job title from 60 days to 180 days.

The fight over mandatory vaccinations has come at a busy time for Toronto, as city officials cope with a severe outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis) that has seen the number of cases increase more than 300% from last year. The city has faced calls to set up a second clinic to help people who don’t receive the vaccinations.

The outbreak has been traced to a paediatric clinic in an eastern suburb where a group of unvaccinated children with the same mother attended school. A report on the Bantrel Clinic revealed the children received only five of the 10 dosages of the DTaP vaccine, but health officials said the incidence of the disease was so low among children that their immunity would be effective.

A company in upstate New York, who distributes Tuberculosis treatment drugs to clinics in Canada, has warned that a Toronto-wide ban on cold medication may result in increased outbreaks of tuberculosis among children who may no longer be able to receive antibiotics.

The business, Fujifilm Canada Ltd, said it was writing to all hospitals in the Toronto region. Some have said they may not be able to fill requests for antimicrobial treatment, the Toronto Star reported.

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