The deadline is approaching for City of Calgary employees to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status, but so far 86 per cent say they’ve had the jab.
Municipal government workers will have to upload their records by Monday, under the city’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.
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As of Friday, 82 per cent of city employees say they are fully vaccinated and 4 per cent are partially vaccinated.The Calgary Police Service reports 85 per cent of employees are fully vaccinated and three per cent are partially vaccinated. The Calgary Fire Department says 80 per cent of employees are fully vaccinated and two per cent are partially vaccinated.According to the city’s fire chief Steve Dongworth, while there are still some members who haven’t disclosed their vaccination status, the department continues to encourage getting the shot. Story continues below advertisement
“We’re encouraging our members to get fully vaccinated as part of the city’s drive to do the same thing within their policy,” Dongworth said to Global News. “We believe it’s important for protecting each other in the workplace as well as making our customers feel safe when we’re working with them out in the community.”Dongworth said society is divided on whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but he also encouraged members to treat one another with respect.“The City of Calgary places a primary importance on ensuring the safety of our employees and citizens,” city manager David Duckworth said in a news release.“I’m pleased to see that the majority of our employees have stepped up to get their vaccinations, which is proven to be the best defense against COVID-19.”
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City employees who are not fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 are required to take part in a rapid testing program and a mandatory education program about the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. Story continues below advertisement
Home testing kits are now being distributed to employees who will be taking part in the rapid testing program. They’ll be provided at no cost until Dec. 1, 2021.
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After Dec. 1, city employees who are not fully vaccinated or have not provided proof of vaccination will be required to continue to participate in the rapid testing program on their own time and at their own expense.Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the vaccine uptake amongst employees is “progress” and added the vaccine is “our only way out of the pandemic.”“I encourage any remaining city employee and any Calgarian who has not yet been vaccinated, to do so now,” Gondek said in a statement. “While our health-care workers are working tirelessly on the front lines, we must each take responsibility and do our part. This is a matter of urgency. We must act now.”The city says the compliance rate means it’s not expecting any service disruptions for Calgarians, but adds there are contingency plans in place if any issues arise.However, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 583, which represents Calgary Transit employees, has called for a seven-day extension to the deadline. Story continues below advertisement
Union president Mike Mahar, who is fully vaccinated, said he believes 85 per cent of the union’s membership will either be vaccinated or opt into the testing program.But Mahar is concerned about the remaining employees who will do neither and how that will impact service levels.“Somewhere in that 10 to 15 per cent, we’re gonna have a problem on Monday with them being able to perform their duties,” Mahar said. “They could capture another large portion of who they’re missing one week from now because they would have a full additional seven days to approach that problem.”The concern comes after the City of Edmonton was forced to roll back transit service by three per cent after 15 transit employees said they wouldn’t opt into the testing program or get the vaccine.According to Calgary Transit, support staff will be on site as soon as Monday to help employees register for the testing program.Calgary Transit told Global News that service is currently at 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, with less than half of pre-pandemic ridership.The transit service said there are contingency plans in place in case there are any disruptions to services due to the vaccination policy.
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