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Vaccine mandate for healthcare workers backfired, AHS is being forced to let them work without it

Positive and negative healthcare outcomes don't matter to AHS and its CEO, Dr. Verna Yiu; instead, getting the total vaccination rate up is how healthcare quality is judged, despite the fact that this strategy has lately come back to haunt them.

Despite a current vaccination rate of 96 percent among healthcare professionals, AHS is facing workforce shortages at some locations. One may think that with 96 percent of healthcare workers vaccinated, there would be no shortages, but the 96 percent number excludes casual workers, who make up 25 percent of all Alberta healthcare workers.

In principle, Alberta Health Services' aim should be to promote Albertans' health and well-being, but for the past year, AHS has been attempting to reframe its function as a vaccine accounting business.

AHS now has to let healthcare employees to operate in Alberta healthcare facilities without being vaccinated as long as they do a quick test before heading to work.

Dr. Yiu revealed during a news conference on November 30 that:

"I want to be clear, the testing option is temporary and will be limited in scope. Only clinical work locations deemed to be at significant risk of service disruptions due to staffing shortages resulting from unvaccinated staff will be part of the testing program."

This is definitely an attempt to avoid admitting a massive fail by implying that the vaccination requirement is just causing temporary staffing shortages when AHS officials have been saying for months that staffing constraints are preventing them from operating extra ICU beds.

Bringing back some unvaccinated workers simply serves to demonstrate how ill-advised and hypocritical the demand was from the start. 260 unvaccinated personnel are now essential, despite the fact that they would be endangering patients if they continued to work without vaccination.

With Global News reporting on December 7th, 2021 that three out of every five persons infected with the new omicron variant were vaccinated, you have to question what the point of getting that stuff is, especially if it doesn't prevent against the spread. 

In the next months, the AHS is expected to completely abandon its vaccination requirements. Legally, admitting that unvaccinated professionals do not represent a risk to patients by allowing them to return if they are tested but excluding thousands of other unvaccinated healthcare workers from returning to work is very problematic.

So, if health-care professionals don't need to get the vaccine since they're on the front lines of the pandemic, why should the rest of us? This one campaign sets the tone for the rest of Canada, and every other industry now has the power and precedents to follow suit.

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