The Quebec government has pushed back mandating COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers across the province.
Despite repeated claims that they would not, Health Minister Christian Dubé said on Wednesday morning that healthcare workers in the province now have until November 15 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Initially, in September, Dubé gave healthcare workers until October 15 to be fully vaccinated or risk suspension without pay.
On Tuesday afternoon, the health minister said there would be “no change” on the October 15 deadline before backtracking and pushing the deadline back 30 days on Wednesday.
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Dubé says giving healthcare workers an additional 30 days is “reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances” during a press conference from Montreal.
“We sincerely hope that you take this offer,” said Dubé in French. “Please do it for yourself and your loved ones. Otherwise, please do it for your colleagues because they really need you.”
According to officials, 96% of Quebec healthcare workers have received at least one dose of a Health Canada approved vaccine but Dubé says some 21,900 workers are still not adequately vaccinated. He says the province’s healthcare system would not be able to handle losing that many staff members.
He says the decision was “difficult” but necessary to “avoid hitting a wall.”