Nine days after a petition opposing mandatory vaccines was introduced in the legislative assembly, Premier Sandy Silver reiterated that the govt won’t be backing down.
“The short answer, Mr. Speaker, is no,” he told the house in November. 10.
Silver 1st declared the necessary vaccine policy in October. 15. At the time the govt did not officially make sure what options would exist for government employees who chose to stay unvaccinated, but said it’d need all workers, volunteers, and contractors to receive the first dose by November. 30.
A second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should be administered by January. 30.
Since then, Silver has clarified that workers who don’t meet that deadline are going to be placed on unpaid leave.
“We need to take action to increase vaccination rates to keep Yukoners healthy and safe, and that is what the govt is doing,” said Silver. Previously, CMOH Catherine Elliott has explained that the policy is needed so as to boost vaccine numbers, protect members of the general public and guarantee safe workplaces.
She noted that patients in places such as hospitals and long-term care homes are at risk of COVID-19 and can’t choose their caretakers in those situations.
“Whether they want to be vaccinated or not, the choice is of individuals. Our choices do have consequences, however, and our individual actions have an impact on the health of our entire territory. Our government has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all Yukoners, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said Silver.
“I urge people who are hesitant concerning vaccines to talk to a nurse or a doctor regarding their issues. The vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious sickness, including death. Vaccination is our greatest protection against COVID-19 and therefore the fastest way out of this pandemic,” he said.
The Yukon Employees’ Union supported the drive to inject members but opposed disciplinary action against staff who chose not to get vaccinated.
The YEU has launched a grievance, which Silver noted in his response to the petition. He compared their stance to the general public Service Alliance of Canada which has said that based on their legal resources, “grievous should accept the consequences of refusing to get vaccinated.”
The petition opposing the mandate, signed by over 2,500 people, was introduced on November. 1 by Yukon Party MLA Patti McLeod, following a recess called in the legislation due to a rowdy crowd of supporters.
Party leader Currie Dixon said he supports vaccination but felt the mandatory policy was too heavy-handed.
On Nov. 10, Silver made it clear he believes the problem is black and white – he said parties ought to support all of the recommendations from the Chief medical officer of Health or endorse makes an attempt to “undermine our public health system.”
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