Update: SAH Mandatory Vaccine Policy

In accordance with provincial direction, Sault Area Hospital (SAH) updated its COVID-19 Health Care Worker Policy. This policy applies to everyone who works at our hospital and our offsite locations.

Like many other hospitals in Ontario, including those in our region, we recognize the importance of mandatory vaccination of health care workers as a critical tool in protecting patient, physician, staff and volunteer safety, as well as avoiding disruption to vital hospital services and programs.

For these reasons, we made it a requirement under our policy that all active SAH employees are to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 20, 2021, unless they have a medical or Human Rights code exemption. Active SAH employees had until November 22, 2021, to receive their first dose in order to be fully vaccinated by December 20, 2021. All new SAH employees, professional staff (such as physicians and midwives), contracted staff, learners and volunteers were to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 7, 2021.

As of November 23, 2021:

  • 100% of our active SAH employees are fully vaccinated or in the process of becoming fully vaccinated, with the exception of those with an approved medical exemption
  • 100% of our active professional staff (physicians and midwives), with the exception of those with an approved medical exemption
  • 100% of our on-site volunteers are fully vaccinated, with the exception of those with an approved medical exemption
  • 13 SAH employees have been terminated as a result of our policy, including 4 Registered Nurses, 4 Registered Practical Nurses and 5 Support Services Staff

When it comes to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, each hospital is responsible for making decisions in the best interest of their patients and the communities they serve. All of our actions – including mandatory COVID-19 vaccination – are guided by our mission to provide quality patient care through our values of Integrity, Compassion, Collaboration and Partnership, Accountability, Respect and Excellence. It is what our community expects and what we strive for every day.

We also took this step with careful and thoughtful consideration of the potential impacts. Given our efforts to mitigate the impact of mandatory vaccination from the potential of 70 employees to 13, we are in a position to manage this impact through our contingency plans and recruitment efforts. Vaccination rates among our staff and medical professionals who work in our hospital have risen steadily since we introduced these policies several months ago. This action helps reduce transmission of COVID-19 and decreases the risk of disruption to hospital operations and other unexpected staff absences due to illness.

Although the Ontario government has indicated that at this time, there will be no province-wide mandate requiring all healthcare workers to become fully vaccinated, our commitment to our mandatory vaccination policies has not changed. We believe it is the right decision for SAH to protect the safety of our patients, their loved ones, our teams and our community.

To find out more about SAH, visit: www.sah.on.ca