City of London criticized for accepting exemptions from vaccination in “good faith”.

There are no immediate plans to update City Hall‘s COVID-19 vaccine policy, despite an exemption request process that a policy expert says is a clear “way out” for employees to avoid vaccination.

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There are no immediate plans to update City Hall’s COVID-19 Vaccine Policy, although an exemption request process is in place for these expert says in politics is a clear “way out” for employees to avoid getting shot.

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Documents obtained in response to a freedom of information request filed by The Free Press show a total of 140 city employees are unvaccinated, including 126 with exceptions on human rights grounds. That is around four percent of the approximately 3,000 employees.

City Hall accepts certificates on medical or human rights grounds not to be vaccinated “in good faith” without requiring proof, although other councils and London institutions require workers to apply for exemptions or provide documentation.

Is this acceptTcapablejust to confirm that you are of legal age? You must have a government approved document, you must have a driver licenseShe tip Just say, ‘I’m 22,'” said political scientist Peter Woolstencroft.

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“T Here are people who need either the carrot or the stick. Giving people a way out—certifying a way out—is a big problem. It’s because your hospitals are full,” he added.

The London Health Sciences Center reported 132 COVID-19 patients on Friday, including 21 in intensive care and six in Children’s Hospital. Of those with the virus, 78 are being treated for COVID-19, with the other 54 testing positive after being taken to hospital with other ailments.

Without a stricter mandate policy at City Hall, there will always be room for people to claim their unvaccinated status is a personal choice, said Saverio Stranges, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University.

Whether it’s appropriate to spot-check these exceptions and assess whether there are plausible medical (or human rights) conditions, I think that might be a sensible course of action,” he said.

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Some vaccinated city employees have also raised concerns about being forced to work in close quarters with unvaccinated colleagues, including in fire stations or city vehicles.

Last month, after the media reported these concerns, City Hall updated its vaccination rules for employees. The policy now includes twice-weekly, taxpayer-paid rapid testing for unvaccinated employees not working from home.

“There are no immediate plans to make further changes to the vaccination policy, but as we have done throughout the pandemic, we continue to monitor the current COVID-19 situation and consult with public health officials,” city officials said in a written response Friday.

  1. District 1 count. Michael van Holst speaks at a rally in Victoria Park on October 16, 2021 to protest vaccination regulations, COVID-19 public health rules and pandemic restrictions. Van Holst is asking the City Council's Corporate Services Committee to treat unvaccinated city staff the same as vaccinated staff and not require them to do two rapid tests a week. (MEGAN STACEY, The London Free Press)

    City Politicians to Colleagues: Scrap Tests of Unvaccinated City Workers

  2. (Postmedia Network)

    City workers may be refused work over untested immunization exemptions: union

  3. Archive photo

    London City Hall: Unvaccinated workers will soon face disciplinary action

The vaccination policy is just one of many safety measures for workers and the public, a spokesman added, including protective equipment, masking, remote work and frequent disinfection. City officials claim the December rule revision is a reflection that policies are subject to change as the pandemic and public health guidance evolve.

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City workers had a high-profile example from one of London’s elected officials, according to Ward 1 Coun. Michael van Holst pledged to create his own “Creed” to pave the way for an exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements and encouraged others to follow. Mayor Ed Holder filed a complaint with the city council‘s integrity officer after van Holst championed his creed at an anti-restrictions rally.

That kind of precedent will spread, Woolstencroft said, particularly among those unsure about COVID-19 vaccines. He said the political example “legitimizes people’s suspicions or doubts about what is going on”.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has stated that anyone who “chooses not to be vaccinated because of personal preference has no right to placement under the Ontario (Human Rights) Code.”

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“The (Commission) is not aware of any tribunal or court decision that has found that a single belief against vaccines or masks amounts to a creed under the Code. While the Code prohibits discrimination based on creed, personal preference or particular beliefs do not constitute a creed.”

Employees can notify Human Resources if they believe a colleague has submitted an incorrect attestation, City Hall said, and those complaints can be investigated under the Code of Ethics.

Stranges said he’s not concerned about the relatively few city workers requesting safety exemptions, although he understands the moral arguments made by disaffected taxpayers.

From a public health perspective, I’m not overly concerned that this small percentage will have a huge impact on our efforts to achieve herd immunity, as the vast majority have responded incredibly well,” he said.

But he addressed a different issue regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, one he sees as crucial to weathering the pandemic and “reconciling our lives with (COVID-19 being) endemic.”

“In (some) countries where people want to be vaccinated, there are no resources to access vaccines. On the other hand, you have high-income countries where vaccines are available, but you have a segment of the population that is not inclined to join this public health program.”

[email protected]

Twitter.com/MeganatLFPress

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