Creston Town Hall. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Creston Town Hall. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Creston’s town council considers implementing COVID-19 immunization policy for staff, volunteers

The policy will be reviewed at the council meeting on Oct. 12

To help relieve pressure on the health-care system, town council is considering the implementation of a COVID-19 immunization policy for staff and volunteers.

The new policy is being considered at the regularly scheduled council meeting on Oct. 12.

“Our health-care system is already overworked, and we need to make sure that we do our part in protecting our community,” said Michael Moore, chief administrative officer.

”The reality is that our community has lower COVID-19 immunization rates than the provincial average.”

As of Oct. 5, the provincial average for full vaccination was 82 per cent in those ages 12 and older, compared to 64 per cent of Creston residents.

The town also has higher than average at risk population of seniors, with 36 per cent of residents over the age of 65. That’s twice the provincial average.

If the COVID-19 immunization policy is adopted by council, all Town of Creston employees and volunteers would need their first dose of the vaccine by Oct. 22, with the second dose by Nov. 20. Proof of full immunization would be required by Dec. 4.

The mandate would include all staff with Creston Fire Rescue, including volunteer firefighters. It would not apply to elected members of council.

Exemptions for medical and religious grounds will require acceptable proof. Anyone who chooses not to receive full vaccinations will be placed on leave without pay.

Other COVID-19 prevention measures will continue to be in place in at town facilities for both employees and the public, such as wearing face masks, physical distancing, washing hands frequently, and sanitizing surfaces, and staying home when unwell.

“We understand that the COVID-19 vaccine may be a contentious issue,” said Moore.

“There are strong opinions in our community regarding immunizations and other health and safety measures that have been implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the creation of tensions and divisions in all aspects of our lives. Despite all of the emotions around the topic, we need to consider the serious consequences to our health-care system while we debate the topic.”

It is about reducing the impacts on our already over-worked hospital and care facilities where our healthcare workers continue to work tirelessly as they continue to navigate this pandemic, without judgement or hesitation. We must do our part now in the ongoing effort to minimize impacts to our healthcare system and our community.”

For an update on this and other items on the agenda, please visit creston.ca or letstalk.creston.ca.

READ MORE: RCMP, corrections staff among federal public servants covered by new vaccine mandate

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