Hospitals have made arrangements to cover workers’ shifts- Health Minister

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Unvaccinated health workers, who have not presented a negative PCR COVID-19 test result, have been prevented from entering local hospitals and taking up their duties but Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony says this is not affecting the quality of patient care.

While speaking to reporters at the sidelines of a vaccination exercise for children on Thursday, the Health Minister said that a “substantial portion” of healthcare workers have taken their COVID-19 vaccines and only a “minority” remain unvaccinated.

Still, he was asked about what contingency plan has been put in place to ensure that patient care is not affected because those unvaccinated workers have been prevented from entering the hospitals’ compounds.

He answered, “… what the hospitals have done is to make arrangements so that shifts are covered.”

Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony.

Earlier in the day, unvaccinated workers of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) were prevented from entering the facility because they also did not have a negative PCR COVID-19 test result.

As per the Gazetted COVID-19 Emergency Measures (No. 20), which took effect from August 1, 2021, unvaccinated individuals are required to make an appointment before accessing government buildings; this extends to employees.

Unvaccinated employees are also being asked to submit the results of a PCR COVID-19 test which must be done at an approved private medical facility and costs about $20,000 at least every week to verify that they are not infected with the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Head of Strategic Management and Communications, Chelauna Providence explained that stakeholders within the hospital have met and discussed what contingency, or backup, plans are needed but adjustments that may be needed would be determined based on workers’ turnout in the coming days.

The Health Minister alluded to such contingency plans being in place at other health facilities.

He, however, stressed that healthcare workers are deemed frontline workers because they are at greater risk for contracting COVID-19. As such, he stressed that they should be getting vaccinated.

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