Yukon government employees have had a few more months to get the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine, Premier Sandy Silver said on Wednesday.
Officials, including teachers and frontline healthcare workers, still have to have at least their first injection by November 30, but now have until January 30 to get their second injection.
Last month, Silver said government workers should be fully immunized by November 30. He said on Wednesday the change was based on new public health advice.
âFor the past 20 months, our movements are based on the recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. That is not changing now,â said Silver.
Silver said the Yukon chief medical officer now recommends an interval of at least eight weeks between vaccine injections, which is why the dates have been pushed back. The previous recommendation called for an interval of at least four weeks between injections.
âThis will ensure that frontline healthcare workers and workers who have not yet been vaccinated have sufficient time to receive both doses before the new requirements take effect,â said Silver.
The government on Wednesday made no changes to the vaccination requirement for Yukoners who want to access all non-essential businesses and attend events such as bars and restaurants, cultural events and gyms. Yukoners will still be required to show proof of vaccination for these things, effective November 30.
8 week interval between shots provides “longer lasting protection”
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Catherine Elliott cited research from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization which found that an eight-week interval between injections was now preferable.
“People who have been vaccinated with this longer interval develop stronger, longer-lasting protection,” Elliott said.
She said a four week interval between injections is still considered effective and acceptable, and this was the right advice throughout the initial phase of the vaccination campaign when the Yukon was given priority to receive doses. of the Moderna vaccine.
âI think the four week interval, which a lot of people in the Yukon had, was the right choice at the timeâ¦ We were able to get people two doses very quickly. We quickly increased our vaccination rate,â he said. said Elliott.
“Right now, with new knowledge and new science, and with 85% of our eligible population vaccinated, now is the time to take that eight week interval as well.”
Silver said some of the logistics around verifying the immunization status of government employees and enforcing the warrant were still being worked out.
“We are examining the time limits for proof, we are currently working with the unions. Further information will be communicated in the days and weeks to come,” he said.
The prime minister also said the postponement of the vaccine mandate date was not due to public opposition to it.
Earlier this week, Yukon Party MP Patti McLeod presented a petition to the Legislature signed by more than 2,300 people. He urges the Yukon government to “immediately cancel all mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements.”
The Yukon Employees Union, which represents about 6,000 workers, also expressed concerns about the vaccine’s mandate and filed a grievance challenging the “arbitrary nature” of the government’s decision.