‘Medical apartheid’

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

At least two local governments will not be wading into the debate on whether or not health care workers, including nurses, should be vaccinated.
McLennan town council, at its meeting Oct. 12, and High Prairie town council, at its meeting Oct. 26, both agreed to leave the matter alone.
“We should not interfere with another organization’s employees,” said High Prairie Councillor James Waikle.
On Aug. 31, Alberta Health Services announced it is implementing a policy of requiring full COVID-19 vaccination for all employees, contractors and others working in AHS facilities, effective Oct. 31.
The United Nurses of Alberta issued a statement on its website saying “the question of mandatory vaccination is not a labour relations question or a political question. It is a public health policy question that needs to be determined by public health experts. It should not be determined by an employer or a union, nor should it be an item of negotiation between employers and unions.”
UNA has urged all members not restricted by medical conditions or religious beliefs to be fully vaccinated as quickly as possible.
The issue arose at the Northern Alberta Elect- ed Leaders meeting Sept. 17. They decided to leave the matter for each council to support or oppose.
McLennan Councillor Luc Dubrule called the issue “medical apartheid” over nurses being told to stay home or get vaccinated.
Later, he added the Alberta government “would choose for us” and suggested council “err on the side of free choice”.
Mayor Michele Fournier agreed.
“It will cause a crisis in the health care system,” she said, noting that workers not vaccinated and not allowed to work will cause more stress on an overloaded system.
At High Prairie’s meeting, Mayor Brian Panasiuk noted the mandate could cause division while Councillor John Dunn agreed with Waikle to stay out of the controversy.
“An organization needs to take the steps they need to take. I believe every human being has a right to choose. I don’t believe this is something we need to play a role in.”

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