The city of Toronto on Thursday suspended plans to suspend more than 1,300 employees and was extending the schedule due to the low number of individuals who had fulfilled requirements.
As first reported by The New York Times, Toronto’s chief medical officer, Dr. Eileen DeLong, said the city realized that not all of the staff at 22 community health centers and seven high-risk groups would be meeting the new deadline. At present, she said, only 48 percent of the unionized city employees were up to speed, despite some employees being warned since last spring to report for the waiver in July.
Earlier this week, Mayor John Tory warned that employees that could not prove they met the vaccine requirements would not have access to appointments, and therefore would be terminated. Toronto’s contract provides for the termination of workers who fail to meet their required level of vaccinations and would not meet that requirement within two months.
Dr. DeLong said the city “inadvertently and unintentionally” hired more people who would not meet the vaccine mandate, and she apologized for the “disruption” to employees and patients at their work sites.
The city has been required to phase in required immunizations since 2014 as part of the Big 5 mandatory program, a one-time collection of vaccines covering six diseases: hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough).
Dr. DeLong said this year that there were an estimated 7,000 seasonal flu cases and 6,000 cases of mumps, but that the new vaccination deadline has only resulted in 4,000 cases.
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Toronto’s vaccination goal delayed due to low pool of workers