The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario is pushing for healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated. Doris Grinspun is the CEO of the association, and she said, "as healthcare professionals, we commit to do no harm and to provide the best care possible to our patients."
The RNAO has now launched a social media campaign called #FullyVaccinated to encourage everyone, including healthcare workers, to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. "We know based on the science we need to be fully vaccinated." said Grinspun. In addition, healthcare professionals are in close contact with patients, to protect patient safety they are calling on the Ford government to mandate vaccinations. In a media release the RNAO shared marginalized communities and individuals have been targeted for COVID-19 and still, they have struggled to get the vaccinated.
"We are asking Premier Ford to bring vaccination to the workplaces and to add two sick days, one day per dose for those people who don't have benefits."
Grinspun says it is not safe for those healthcare workers to be in close contact with patients. "Many patients came into the hospital for non-COVID related procedures. This includes patients who need chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis, and those who need surgery like hip replacements did not leave the hospital because they contracted the virus. "We have a due diligence as health professionals to keep our patients safe."
While there are anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers, Grinspun said there are few in the healthcare profession, but those who are not comfortable with receiving the vaccine, there are options for them. "They will be required to wear their masks and additional facial protection when seeing patients. If I were to be in charge of those organizations, I would not allow them to be around patients."
She stresses those working in any healthcare professions should be fully vaccinated if they are taking care of patients. "The reality is patients come first. Be it patients in, in-home care, personal support workers, or nurses going home to home, patients in long-term care homes, retirements or in hospital. A health professionals first duty is not to harm."
The RNAO is still in contact with the Premier's office Grinspun said, "The premier knows we will continue to put pressure on this issue."
To participate in the campaign, members can tag RNAO in their photos on either Twitter or on Instagram before, during or after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine. Participants have a chance to be featured in RNAO’s fully vaccinated hall of fame on social media. For more information on how to participate in the #FullyVaccinated campaign click here.