Vaccination Rates Labdara Staff
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Dear Labdara Residents, Families, and Persons with Power of Attorney:
We are reaching out to you today in response to questions we have received from you about the COVID-19 vaccination rates of Labdara Lithuanian Nursing Home staff. As of today, 51% of current staff are vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. We are very concerned about the rate of vaccination and are striving to increase it. Extensive efforts have been, and continue to be made to encourage staff to get vaccinated.
We are following all vaccination directives from the Provincial government for staff in long-term care. Currently (since July 1, 2021), all staff must do ONE of the following:
• provide proof of vaccination of each dose;
• provide a documented medical reason for not being vaccinated; OR
• participate in an educational program about the benefits of vaccination and the risks of not being vaccinated.
Multiple strategies have been implemented at Labdara to promote uptake of vaccination of staff since December, 2020. The home’s leadership has directed extensive resources and efforts toward this goal including:
• ongoing and repeated education of staff to promote vaccination through various methods of communication
• reducing barriers and providing access to the vaccine through UHN, North York General, Public Health and by arranging on-site vaccination clinics
• offering incentives to staff
• covering travel time to obtain the vaccine and offering support for transportation if needed
• ensuring staff have paid time to obtain the vaccine where needed
• repeated one-on-one information sharing and updates to staff on the importance of vaccination and to dispel and correct misinformation
• working closely with Toronto Public Health to share information and to develop policies on informed decision-making
• providing information to reduce misunderstanding and fears about the vaccine
• working with the Infection Prevention and Control team from Trillium Health Partners to promote vaccine uptake amongst staff
• hosting information sessions for staff with physicians from Toronto Public Health to promote vaccination
• engaging a Vaccination Hesitancy Specialist to investigate and implement any other possible strategies to promote vaccination
• arranging for opportunities for staff to ask questions anonymously while feeling safe and supported
• encouraging staff to speak to their vaccinated peers about their experiences
• ensuring that the Union understands that Labdara remains committed to increasing vaccination rates and working with the Union to ensure that they are also encouraging staff to get vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccination of long-term care staff is NOT mandatory in the province of Ontario. The government only requires long-term care homes have a vaccination policy which is mandatory. This policy allows staff to refuse to be vaccinated as long as they complete mandatory education sessions about vaccination, which we are providing. It is important to note that we can neither force staff to get vaccinated, nor take any action against staff if they choose not to get vaccinated. We remain committed to continuing education and encouraging our staff to be vaccinated at every possibility within our current capacity.
We are grateful to all of our families and loved ones who have reached out to the government to advocate for mandatory vaccination for long-term care workers. Without this legislated mandate we are severely limited in our abilities to require vaccination for existing staff. We encourage you to continue contacting government officials with your concerns.
It is important for you to know that all unvaccinated staff are required to be tested for COVID-19 at the beginning of every shift. We continue to test above the minimum recommended frequency to quickly identify and exclude staff who test positive for COVID-19.
Additionally, all supplemental agency staff brought in to help contain the outbreak are fully vaccinated. Going forward, hiring policies will be revised to require all newly hired staff to provide proof of full vaccination.
The safety of our residents remains our number one priority and we are committed to remaining focussed on these efforts. Thank you to all of you who have offered your support during this difficult time.
Labdara Lithuanian Nursing Home and Labdara Foundation Board of Directors