Six hospital staff terminated for not being vaccinated against COVID-19

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Six hospital staff in the county have been terminated for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Wellington Health Care Alliance (WHCA), which includes Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Fergus, Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest, and Palmerston and District Hospital, made the announcement on Nov. 15.

WHCA joined with other hospitals in the region in September to implement a mandatory vaccination policy for all staff, physicians, students, volunteers, and contractors.

On Oct. 13, 14 workers were put on unpaid leave for not meeting the requirement.

In an email on Nov. 10, manager of communications Alison Armstrong said seven of the 14 had decided to get the vaccine and are no longer on unpaid leave. But by Nov. 15, the hospital decided to terminate the six employees still on leave.

“The health and safety of our patients and staff is our priority and requiring full staff vaccination against COVID-19 is one of the best ways of achieving this,” WHCA president Angela Stanley states in a Nov. 15 release. 

“It is difficult to say goodbye to staff we have worked with, however these decisions will help to provide the safest environment to care for our most vulnerable. The loss of staff will not impact hospital services.”

Stanley continued, “COVID-19 cases in the region are on the rise and add to this flu season is on the horizon.

“This pandemic is not over, and we must continue efforts to protect patients and staff from COVID-19.”

With this change, over 99% of the 706 employees at the three hospital campuses are fully vaccinated.