New Year, New Numbers: Over 100 More Cites Face Termination For Lack of Flu Vaccination

Only 1,319 city employees — including almost 2,000 outside workers — face suspension or termination, the city announced Wednesday.

A report to city council says that the number of employees facing suspension or termination is about half of the estimated 1,853 city employees who were ordered to be vaccinated by the end of the year.

“This represents fewer than 1,300 city employees currently facing disciplinary action at this time,” the report reads.

It states that of those 1,853 who were ordered to be vaccinated, only 581 have been diagnosed with an infection, and of those, 1,098 were certified as being up to date.

There are 13 cases of employees tested for H1N1 that may have contracted the virus while responding to the outbreak in the city’s Scarborough and Mississauga area in September. All 13 of those cases tested negative for the virus.

Several Ontario political parties said it was good that the number of workers facing a possible suspension or termination fell short of initial projections.

“Today we’re seeing that most of those affected by the vaccine mandate are on the right track,” Toronto NDP health critic Jagmeet Singh said. “This is a very positive outcome and it shows that there is an ongoing commitment to providing safe, effective vaccinations to Toronto’s children.”

Liberal MPP Laurie Scott said that despite a substantial drop in the number of employees facing possible terminations, a broader engagement with employees and public education efforts need to take place.

“What needs to happen is that there needs to be a much more ambitious engagement with the public and the employees themselves to ensure they are ready for this and have some sort of plan in place as well,” she said.

The City of Toronto has been on the hook for $60 million in childcare costs after the province made the vaccine mandatory last year.

The health officials are still trying to determine who was not vaccinated. The demand, the mayor has said, was so great that full nurses and support staff, some of whom work with special needs children, were called in to double up on vaccinations.

Mayor John Tory said that the clinics were offering the vaccinations on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The first priority of all is to make sure that if anyone in the Toronto community is not aware of the case where vaccines are available that if they’re at a clinic or an authorized site, that they get their vaccination,” he said.

The Toronto Star reported that city staff are also expected to report on Wednesday evening how many schools are providing the vaccines.

The city has started to notify parents of children who did not receive vaccinations at school, in some cases by email and in others by phone.

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