Sunday, November 28

Health and education leaders urgently seek clarity on vaccine exemptions

Health and education leaders are calling for urgent clarity on vaccine exemption certificates as the deadline for teachers to get vaccinated approaches.

School children wearing protective masks against influenza virus at classroom lesson

Photo: 123RF

The calls come when some directors are presented with questionable exemption certificates, signed by homeopaths and midwives.

The Post Primary Directors Association says directors have inadequate information, are under pressure and are confused about how to deal with staff who choose not to get vaccinated.

The deadline is November 15. Principals estimate that several thousand teachers are resisting the government’s order to get vaccinated.

PPTA President Melanie Webber said directors need clarity on the legitimacy of the waivers and how to deal with staff who refuse to get vaccinated.

“They are concerned about being wrong and having a personal injury against them,” he said. Nine for noon.

“Directors are in a really difficult situation because they have to have very difficult conversations with people about their livelihood and it is with the people that they care about and who they have known for a long time and they have to try to figure out what to do.

“It’s hard for managers and people in this situation have to make these decisions.

“Now they should have a clear direction on how to manage the process. But what is not clear is the part around the exemptions. There are a lot of people who think they can get exemptions and who really can’t.”

She said the ministry had not submitted a medical list on who is an appropriate medical professional to grant exemptions.

“We have homeopaths and midwives granting waivers, which is not an area that they need to be involved in necessarily. There needs to be real clarity. The advice right now for directors is to put it in the drawer and reevaluate it once. that advice is there. “

Anti-vax GPs were also granting waivers. Some were asked to pay $ 100 to inquire about the certificates, he said.

The Education Ministry expected only 100 people nationwide to be exempt, Webber added.

He said advice was unlikely to arrive this week, meaning directors would have a week to assess who had the appropriate waivers and what to do with staff.

At this time, schools must have a clear record of who is vaccinated and who has not yet, with proof of vaccination.

“There is a requirement to provide the information and if someone does not provide it, it is assumed that they are not vaccinated,” he said.

Not getting vaccinated and having a legitimate exemption could lead to final layoffs from work, creating more headaches for schools.

“I’m really concerned about that. We’ve had a teacher shortage for a long time and not much has been done about it,” Webber said.

“We have had a constant shortage of teachers, but it comes down to a question of health and it will be complicated … Ultimately, we must keep people safe.”

Warning not to issue certificates

The College of Family Physicians advises members not to issue vaccine exemption certificates until health officials have closed an apparent loophole in the rules.

It says these include a reference to unspecified health problems, which could be exploited.

The president of the university, Dr. Samantha Murton, said that they, too, were awaiting the final opinion of the Ministry of Health on the reasons for the exemption.

Murton said current reasons include an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine, a severe allergy to any part of the vaccine, or a significant heart condition.

Those conditions may mean that a person cannot receive the vaccine, or that it must be given in a different or delayed way.

“We are working with the ministry and the Immunization Counseling Center to clarify and expose exactly what those reasons are.

“The problem we have is that the law also says” and other health issues “and that is where we take off.

“People come up with a huge variety of reasons why, for their health, they don’t want to get vaccinated.”

The waivers signed now won’t necessarily be valid once the criteria are finally established, he said, and clarity was “urgently needed” so that patients knew what they could get and doctors had a “clear line in the sand” on what they could get. valid reasons.

The College had recommended that its members not sign any certificate until this process was formalized.

Murton noted that the law appeared to allow any healthcare professional registered under the Health Professionals Competency Guarantee Act to provide a certificate of exemption. That would include GPs, dentists, podiatrists and midwives and others.

“In my opinion, and from the perspective of the College, we would expect someone who signs one of these certificates to know about the health of that particular person, have a general understanding of health care and also be very aware of how the vaccine works and what are the problems with vaccines. “

It would be someone with extensive knowledge about vaccination and the patient, and not a healthcare professional working on one part of the body rather than the whole person, he said.

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