Alberta Health Services proposed a three per cent wage rollback for nurses last month during contract negotiations with the union that represents about 30,000 public-sector nurses. (Black Press news services)

AHS mandatory vaccination policy lifted

Alberta has joined other provinces in lifting vaccination and testing mandates for healthcare workers.

At the direction of the Minister of Health, Alberta Health Services (AHS) will no longer require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or regular rapid testing of its current workers as of March 10 at 4 p.m.

“AHS’ immunization policy was implemented to protect patients, workers and the public earlier in the pandemic. However, we are now in a different stage of our response and the overwhelming majority of our health-care workforce understands the importance of getting vaccinated. We need to make sure that every health-care worker who is available to work, can, which is why we are lifting this mandate,” said Jason Copping, Minister of Health.

The vast majority of AHS staff are fully vaccinated. 97.7 per cent of AHS full and part-time employees and 99.8 per cent of physicians. The government said in the release this week, this means that AHS sites have strong vaccine protection in place for staff and the patients they care for.

A return to work will be worked out between workers and their workplace leaders. Current workers that are unvaccinated and on a leave of absence will be able to return to work after March 10.

AHS said they will continue to assess staffing and work with those who choose not to get immunized address their concerns, answer their questions and educate them about the importance of immunization and vaccine safety and effectiveness.