As it looks like Ontario will soon be issuing COVID vaccination passports, Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, is strongly recommending that local employers address the need for a COVID-19 workplace vaccination policy. Last week the City of Hamilton instituted a mandatory vaccination policy, as has Hamilton Police, McMaster and a number of private sector companies.
In a release Dr. Richardson states, “these workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies should explain their purpose, specific actions employees must take, including providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination status or a medical exemption, and timelines. Workplace vaccination policies should require at minimum:
- Employees to provide proof of being fully vaccinated with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
- Unvaccinated employees to present written proof of a medical reason from a primary care provider
- Unvaccinated employees to complete an education course on the risks of being unvaccinated in the workplace
- Recommendations on developing a workplace vaccination policy are available here.
Hamilton employers can also play a critical role in encouraging the importance of getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in a supportive environment through the following:
- Sharing COVID-19 vaccine information from credible sources
- Offering translated resources
- Supporting vaccine champions to initiate conversations with their colleagues
- Providing paid leave to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
- Reminding employees that they are legally entitled to up to three paid sick days if they experience side effects from the vaccine
- Providing transportation options for employees to get their COVID-19 vaccine
- Hosting a workplace vaccination clinic
Vaccines can be accessed both on a walk-in basis at many Hamilton locations or by booking an appointment. Information regarding walk-in options, booking an appointment and frequently asked questions are available at Hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine.