9 Out of 10 Guelphites Now Vaccinated, as City Struggles With Unvaccinated Staff

On Wednesday, the residents of Guelph reached an important vaccine milestone: 9 out of every 10 eligible people in the city have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. By comparison, only 83 per cent of people born in 2009 and before in the whole of Ontario are fully vaccinated, which casts Guelph as pretty enthusiastically vaccinated locality in Canada. Unfortunately, not all of us are enthusiastic, even the ones that need to be.

As of Wednesday, 90 per cent of eligible people are fully vaccinated in Guelph while 93.2 per cent have gotten one shot. Compared to the rest of the region, over 77 per cent of Wellington County is full vaccinated and over 81 per cent of Dufferin County, and that means Guelph’s overwhelming vaccination totals bring the regional curve up to 84.6 per cent of the total eligible population in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health who are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 87.8 per cent have gotten at least one shot.

The big news about Guelph’s vaccine milestone is somewhat muted from an announcement earlier this week that only 93 per cent of the City of Guelph’s 1,669 employees are fully vaccinated. If you do the math, that means there’s 117 employees who now have to be regularly tested; twice a week, 48 hours apart for full-time staff, and 48 hours ahead of their first shift for the week for part-time staff.

Further reporting from the Guelph Mercury Tribune actually pegged the number of staff members at the City who have not gotten vaccinated at 138, with the majority of them actually being part-time staff.

“It’s important for our employees to have a safe place to work and equally important that the community can safely access City facilities and services during the pandemic,” said chief administrative officer Scott Stewart in a statement. “The City is committed to do our part to protect the community while delivering excellent service.”

City Hall’s vaccine mandate was announced at the end of August that all staff members of the corporation, as well as members of City Council, volunteers, and staff at the Guelph Public Library would have to show proof of vaccination, or proof of valid medical exemption, by October 15.

The City of Guelph’s vaccination numbers for staff are not too dissimilar from the University of Guelph, who reported last month that 97 per cent of their faculty and staff at the Guelph and Ridgetown campuses who provided information were fully vaccinated and 2 per cent were partially vaccinated at the time. The U of G has over 3,900 faculty and staff, so those percentages some out to mean that around 120 people at the campuses were unvaccinated. The U of G’s vaccine requirement went into effect on September 7, and covered students and campus visitors as well.

Earlier this month, Guelph General Hospital announced that they had 31 staff members that were refusing to get vaccinated, which is about 2 per cent of the approximately 1,530 members of the hospital’s staff. The 31 unvaccinated staffers were put on an unpaid leave of absence as of October 12, and thy have until November 9 to change to “reconsider their decision” for the leaves become terminations.

At the same time, vaccination efforts continue across the region. When you factor in the total population, including kids under the age of 12, 73.7 per cent of people in the region are fully vaccinated while 76.5 per cent have received one dose.

To be continued…

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