KAWARTHA LAKES-In Ontario, inmates can refuse vaccination while much of the general public cannot.
On August 17, 2021, the Ontario government announced that it would be making COVID-19 vaccination policies mandatory for certain high-risk settings, which include hospitals, schools and post-secondary institutions, among others.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a directive regarding the implementation of mandatory vaccination policies for employees, staff, contractors, students and volunteers in certain health care settings, as well as paramedics. The policies require proof of full vaccination status or regular antigen testing, among other things. The Ministry of Education introduced a vaccination disclosure policy for all publicly funded school board employees, staff in private schools as well as for all staff in licensed child care settings for the 2021-22 school year. It will require rapid antigen testing requirements for staff who are not vaccinated.
The government also required mandatory vaccination policies in the following settings:
- post-secondary institutions
- licensed retirement homes
- women’s shelters
- congregate group homes and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, children’s treatment centres and other services for children with special needs, and licensed children’s residential settings.
On September 1 the Ontario government said it would require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to access certain businesses and settings starting September 22, 2021. Government officials said requiring proof of vaccination in these settings reduces risk and is an important step to encourage every last eligible Ontarian to get their shot, which is critical to protecting the province’s hospital capacity, while also supporting businesses with the tools they need to keep customers safe, stay open and minimize disruptions.
“As the world continues its fight against the Delta variant, our government will never waver in our commitment to do what’s necessary to keep people safe, protect our hospitals and minimize disruptions to businesses,” said Premier Ford. “Based on the latest evidence and best advice, COVID-19 vaccine certificates give us the best chance to slow the spread of this virus while helping us to avoid further lockdowns. If you haven’t received your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please do so today.”
However, apparently none of this applies to inmates in Ontario jails.
“Inmates have access to vaccines at all provincial correctional facilities. Ministry health care staff administer first and second vaccine doses to any eligible and consenting inmates,” said Andrew Morrison with the Ministry of the Solicitor General. “The ministry has been working with local public health and community partners to promote the vaccine and address hesitancy in the inmate population. Provincial correctional facilities will continue to manage inmates according to their pandemic response plans regardless of individual vaccine profiles of newly admitted inmates.”
We have asked the ministry what percentage of inmates have been vaccinated but have not heard back.
It is unclear whether staff at the jails are required to be vaccinated.
A Coronavirus outbreak declared at the Central East Correctional Centre on September 7,2021 includes 14 inmates who have contracted the virus. No staff have been impacted. Earlier in the summer an outbreak included 122 inmates and nine staff. Read more here:https://www.kawartha411.ca/2021/05/25/active-cases-of-coronavirus-in-kawartha-lakes-skyrockets-with-122-now-confirmed-at-lindsay-jail/
As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access, funerals, restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout),Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment),meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres,gyms, sporting events, concerts and more.
“We know vaccines provide the best protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
Just not for inmates apparently.