Consultation with local health officials will help inform City of Greater Sudbury vaccine policy being drafted
As the threat of a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic looms and vaccines prove effective, the City of Greater Sudbury is working on a vaccination policy for municipal staff.
Sudbury.com requested an interview with Mayor Brian Bigger on the subject earlier this week. Instead, we received this written response on behalf of the Municipality from the Chief of Staff to the Mayor, Hugh Kruzel.
“The city is reviewing the province’s risk guideline and consulting with local public health to determine a vaccination policy for city staff,” the statement said. âThis has been our consistent approach and process throughout the pandemic. “
A City representative noted that there were 3,036 City of Greater Sudbury staff members in 2020, excluding the Greater Sudbury Police Department, but including volunteer firefighters.
The municipal immunization policy being developed follows on from other organizations that have established or are in the process of developing immunization policies.
The city of Toronto and its transit agency have announced that vaccination will be mandatory for all workers over the coming weeks.
All three of Greater Sudbury’s post-secondary institutions recently announced that they are requiring those entering their campuses this fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Ontario teachers’ unions are calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for eligible staff and students in schools across the province.
Sudbury.com reached out to a few randomly selected city councilors to find out what they want to see in the city’s immunization policy, obtaining information from Ward 4 Council. Geoff McCausland, Ward 2 Council Michael Vagnini, Ward 8 Council. Al Sizer and Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc.
âIt’s a difficult thing because there is this balance between personal comfort and autonomy and the public good,â McCausland said. âWe hit this kind of thing all the time. Personally, I believe that the only way out of this pandemic and the only way to get back to some kind of normalcy is to get everyone vaccinated. “
Whether this is legally enforceable remains a question, but McCausland believes the city should take a stand and declare that all of its employees should be vaccinated.
âI believe it’s the right thing to do from a leadership standpoint,â he said. “Do whatever it takes until someone forces you not to.”
Leduc shares a similar pro-vaccine point of view, describing it as the clearest path to some sense of normalcy, but said he is waiting to see what happens in city politics.
âWhen it comes to our municipal workers, we can put a policy in place to get them vaccinated, we just can’t enforce it,â he said. âWe will take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our employees. “
Aside from those who cannot get the shot due to underlying health issues, he said getting the shot is a straightforward process and that he got in and out within minutes for his two appointments. vaccination.
Vagnini declined to comment on what he would like to see in a municipal vaccine policy, but said he had received a lot of information from people regarding vaccines, but not all of it was accurate.
Getting the vaccine, he added, “is a choice people have to make, but the only thing I can say is that we had a polio vaccine which was very controversial at the time. and today we don’t hear much about polio. “
Sizer said that while he hadn’t heard too much about a potential vaccination policy, he had no issues with options like passports and vaccine registrations.
“It is for the good of the community,” he said, adding that a good parallel to this is the fact that seat belts have long been mandatory.
As of Monday’s last count, Sudbury & Districts Public Health recorded a vaccine uptake of 82.7 percent of residents 12 years and older as having received their first dose. In the health unit, about 75.4% of eligible people are fully immunized. Provincially, these figures are 82.2 percent and 75 percent, respectively.
On Wednesday, the province registered 94 people in Ontario’s intensive care units, of whom 78 were unvaccinated, nine were partially vaccinated and seven were fully vaccinated.
Tyler Clarke covers City Hall and Political Affairs for Sudbury.com.