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Calls growing to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario healthcare workers – KitchenerToday.com

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A growing number of countries are making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health care workers – and there are growing calls for Ontario to follow suit.

France and Greece are two of the latest European countries to bring in rules that will ensure all health and long-term care workers are vaccinated, or otherwise face penalties.

There are now growing calls from health experts for similar mandates in Ontario.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch took to social media on Monday night saying that the new rules in France and Greece make sense.

“You can’t put the most vulnerable at risk,” said Bogoch in a tweet.

Dr. David Fisman, professor of epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, also tweeted his support for the policy.

“Long past time for this in Canada,” said Fisman. “There’s no reason for health care workers to remain unvaccinated.”

“If you’ve signed up to care for people, you can’t also voluntarily serve as a COVID-vector.”

In Ontario, the provincial government has semi-required long-term care workers to get vaccinated. Workers don’t need to get a jab if they have a documented medical reason – they can also opt to take an educational course on vaccines, which would allow them to continue to work without having received a shot.

An op-ed published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine supports the idea of mandating vaccines for health care workers.

The doctors behind the piece argue that the case for making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory is much greater than the case for mandatory influenza vaccines. The morbidity and mortality rate of COVID-19 significantly exceeds that of the flu, and COVID-19 vaccines are much more effective than the flu shot.

“We believe that there is an extra onus on health care workers to protect themselves from (COVID-19) in order to protect patients,” reads the article.

“Health care workers routinely tend to the elderly, ill, and vulnerable, in whom infection is more likely to be deadly. We cannot rely on patients being vaccinated to prevent nosocomial transmission because some patients cannot get the vaccine, some will decline, and vaccine may not be effective in immunocompromised patients.”

Some hospitals – including some in Ontario – began mandating flu shots for health care workers nearly 15 years ago. Some health care workers unions in the province have fought the influenza vaccine mandate.

Many recent outbreaks in the Region of Waterloo are being traced back to unvaccinated workers in vulnerable settings. Half of the staff in five long-term outbreaks in the last month were found to be unvaccinated.

Waterloo Region has seen a recent surge of cases due to the more transmissible Delta variant which forced the region to stay in Step 1 of Ontario’s reopening plan more than a week longer than the rest of the province.

There has been no word yet from the Ford government that any such policy to make vaccines mandatory is being discussed for Ontario.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered all French health care workers to get virus vaccine shots by Sept. 15. Those who don’t get vaccinated by Sept. 15 will face potential sanctions or fines, he said.

The new measures are the latest attempt of the country to get ahead of a surging Delta variant that has set off another wave of the pandemic in the U.K.

“The equation is simple. The more we vaccinate, the less space we leave this virus to circulate,” said Macron.

Greece announced Monday that health care workers will be suspended if they refuse to get vaccinated.

Italy was among the first countries to make a similar policy in April. Workers in that country face a transfer off of the frontlines or suspension without pay if they do not comply.

There are some ongoing constitutional challenges to the rules in Europe but none have stuck as of yet.

– With files from The Associated Press

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Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.

According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.

The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.

Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.

To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.

Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.

While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.

The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.

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Monkeypox case count rises to more than 3400 globally, WHO says – The Globe and Mail

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More than 3,400 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported to the World Health Organization as of last Wednesday, with a majority of them from Europe, the agency said in an update on Monday.

WHO said that since June 17, 1,310 new cases were reported to the agency, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.

Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, WHO ruled last week, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

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Sudbury news: Northern agencies highlight national HIV testing day | CTV News – CTV News Northern Ontario

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Monday was national HIV testing day. Officials say this year’s theme surrounds how getting tested is an act of self-care.

From clinics to self-testing kits, groups in the north say there are many options to get tested and everyone should use whichever way works best for them.

Just more than a year ago, Reseau Access Network in Sudbury teamed with Ready to Know and Get a Kit, groups that provide HIV self-testing kits at a pickup location.

Officials said it has been a huge success.

“We get a consistent number throughout each month and I can’t really divulge those figures, unfortunately, but as part of the overall study I can tell you the pickup of self-tests is a fraction of the amount of tests being ordered,” said Angel Riess, of Reseau Access Network.

“There’s actually a lot of tests being shipped to homes directly but I can confirm that they have been active and there’s a significant number of people who have chosen to engage in both programs.”

Elsewhere, the Aids Committee of North Bay and Area held a point-of-care testing clinic to mark the day.

“It’s an opportunity for us to remind everyone that getting tested is essential. If you don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take the steps to try to mitigate the possibility of spread,” said executive director Stacey Mayhall.

In addition to stopping the spread, knowing whether you are positive sooner rather than later can allow for a better quality of life.

“HIV is not a death sentence that it used to be,” said Riess.

“There have been advances in testing and medication and people can live long, healthy lives living with HIV.”

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