Shared Health says while the data is still rolling in, they can share that they've found so far 95.9 per cent of health care workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


New rules

As of Monday morning, many front-facing positions require full vaccination against COVID-19 or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

"These direct care workers all must either participate in regular rapid testing or provide proof of full vaccination in order to continue coming to work," a spokesperson from Shared Health says. "The number of individuals refusing testing and being sent home remains a very small minority."

The vast majority of the 42,000 workers involved in Manitoba's front-facing healthcare system are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data shared by a Shared health spokesperson. This includes permanent, term and casual staff, physicians, residents, and some contractors, as well as some students in clinical placements.

Out of the approximately 42,000 workers, 36,500 have completed the province's vaccine status disclosure status.

Out of these disclosures, 29,389 have been confirmed as fully vaccinated and 1,800 confirmed as needing regular COVID-19 testing. 

"An updated number is still being reconciled that takes into account individuals who work at both a WRHA and Shared Health site may have been double-counted in the direct care workers column but only counted once in the disclosure. We hope to provide this data soon."

Shared health is expecting more paper forms to be entered over the next few days and weeks. Managers were responsible for submitting the health information.

"Over the past several weeks, the health system has been working to validate the vaccination status of all direct care workers, either through one-on-one discussions between individuals and their managers, an online portal, and – for those who consent – use of an automated validation process involving use of their personal health identification number."

Shared Health says no significant issues have been reported regarding testing.

"While today’s implementation is encouraging, contingency plans remain in place across all service delivery organizations both to ensure ongoing health services for Manitobans and to support efficient rapid testing for staff who need it."


Protests in Southern Health Sante Sud

People stood outside of Altona Memorial Health Centre and Eastview Personal Care Home Monday, protesting the new health orders.

"Medical testing and vaccination are deeply personal health decisions that must be made on an individual basis, drawing on each individual's beliefs, values, and personal experiences. These are not decisions that can be mandated by any outside person, organization, or level of government," a representative of the group says in a statement.

eastview signsSigns with the phrases "ready and able to work, please let me" and "stand up for health care workers" were made for Monday's demonstrations. 

Those not allowed inside say they want to keep working, but do not agree with the mandate. Julie Myers, a new Canadian citizen sworn-in just last week stood outside of Salem Home in Winkler in solidarity.

"I don't think it's fair that they have to lose their job - to choose or lose - I just personally am not for that," she said. "I was tied up in the healthcare system for the last year and I know how it feels as a patient to be cared for properly, and with a really stressed healthcare system that I feel like we already had, this is just going to stress it out a little bit more and that's just not a solution. I think we can come together and come up with a better way to take care of us all and keep our freedoms, something I was just sworn into last week," Myers says.

The event includes statements from Winkler Mayor Martin Harder, a firefighter, and health care workers.

Southern Health says there are pockets with people who are not willing to be vaccinated or test. They caution those unwilling to follow the new rules that they will not be paid.

"Individuals who are not vaccinated (or have not disclosed their vaccination status) and who refuse to participate in regular rapid testing will be immediately placed an on unpaid leave of absence. No pension contributions will be submitted on their behalf while they remain on this leave of absence and they will not be permitted to access vacation, sick, stat or overtime banks," Southern Health says.

In a press conference Monday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Manitobans can expect the vaccination orders to continue for both select workplaces and public events such as concerts until the spring.

"We have to expect that this will carry us through the typical respiratory virus season, so through winter and to spring. Obviously, we review all of these things all the time but I think given the state of our healthcare system and the demands that the respiratory season will be likely to put on it, it is very likely it will have to take us through this winter," Roussin says.

The doctor also says the province has plans to help in places, like Salem Home in Winkler, where low compliance with the testing requirement is expected, leaving staffing gaps.

"Over the coming days, these efforts will continue, to ensure staff are redeployed to support areas that may need some additional help; to encourage staff to complete their vaccine disclosure forms if they have not yet, and to be tested prior to going to work if they are required to do so," Southern Health's statement says.

Last week Salem Home sent out a letter to families, saying they might need help with resident care, ranging from doing laundry to taking residents home.

"Salem Home is exercising its due diligence to communicate new developments, with the ultimate goal of ensuring residents are provided with continued quality, safe care. As a component of due diligence, we let the families know that we don’t know what the possible outcomes will be on October 18th, once the orders re. mandatory vaccine/testing for health care workers are implemented. This is what prompted our request for their assistance, as they are able," Salem Home CEO says in a statement Friday.

Long Term and Continuing Care Association of Manitoba's executive director, Jan Legeros, encouraged people to Friday to get vaccinated, optimistic that Salem Home and others in need of help will receive assistance. 


With files from Pembina Valley Online and Taylor Brock