September 29, 2021

Mandatory Vaccines

The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges. We’re dealing with a highly transmissible virus that is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Canadians and millions more around the globe. The virus has repeatedly put hospitals on the brink; on multiple occasions, resulting in the rationing of care.

An individual’s personal decision not to get vaccinated has tangible implications – life and death consequences – for others. As hospitals across Canada fill up with unvaccinated patients, others are not receiving the care they so desperately need. Surgeries and other vital procedures are being cancelled or delayed. And children, who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine, are especially vulnerable.

As we have throughout this pandemic, the Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador (RNU) has looked to science and public health to guide us through the pandemic. RNU supports the advice of public health officials to introduce mandatory vaccination policies.

Premier Furey has indicated unions will have consultations. We will review the policy when we receive it and also work to ensure it is clearly communicated to employees.

Employees who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or other protected grounds need to be accommodated by their employer. RNU will represent our members to ensure this happens.

Nurses have carried a tremendous psychological burden throughout the pandemic. Part of alleviating that burden, is addressing the nursing shortage. Relieving the pressures on our health care system, through masking, social distancing and vaccination, is also part of this equation.

In our view, all eligible Canadians should be vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, their friends and their communities.

Thank you for your continued efforts as we face COVID-19. As we have throughout the pandemic, RNU members are playing an instrumental role in caring for patients and keeping our communities safe as we fight the fourth wave.

Stay safe. Continue to wear appropriate PPE at all times, physical distance and follow public health measures.