Ontario long-term care ministry asks homes to work on increasing staff vaccine uptake


TORONTO — Ontario is asking long-term care operators to do more to get their staff vaccinated against COVID-19.

The associate deputy minister of long-term care sent a memo to licensees last week, saying nearly 80 per cent of staff have received a first dose but there is a wide variation among homes.

Erin Hannah’s memo asks licensees to work with the homes to amplify messages about the benefits of vaccines.

It suggests having one-on-one conversations with all staff members, inviting trusted leaders to share their experiences, holding on-site vaccinations and offering paid time off and transportation to clinics.

The memo discusses next steps for long-term care during the pandemic, and also asks homes to review policies to ensure residents can go outdoors.

A spokesperson for the minister of long-term care says people are hesitant to receive a vaccine for many reasons, and the ministry is strongly encouraging all staff to get a COVID-19 shot.