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    Sandy Silver interview April 8, 2022 CHONfm

Vaccine mandate timeline shifted

The shift comes after a NACI recommendation of eight weeks between COVID shots instead of four.

Government employees in the Yukon now have a little more time to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Folks, the writing is there. The recommendations are solid. The rationale is solid,” Premier Sandy Silver said at a press conference this morning as he announced that the timeline for the vaccine mandate has been adjusted. When the policy was declared last month, Silver said government employees had to have both of their shots by November 30. Now he says they only have to have their first dose by the end of the month. They will have until January 30 to have their get their second.

Silver says the timeline push back comes after recommendations from Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to increase the time between doses from four weeks to eight.

Silver says that the petition signed by over 2,000 Yukoners tabled in the legislature earlier this week calling for the abolishment of the policy did not impact decision making

The presentation of the petition caused quite the kerfuffle. On Monday, the legislature had to take a 15-minute recess mere minutes after it started to regain order when members of the public in the gallery there to watch the tabling of the document got into an argument with the house because they were told to wear masks.

There is still no word on what will happen to employees who refuse to get their shots. Silver says those details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

“We don’t see a situation, other than a medical situation, where an alternative to vaccination is going to happen. We also know that would affect a very very small portion of our population,” Silver said.

“Our recommendations are still going to be based on science,” he added.

The vaccine mandate has proven to be controversial. It is supported by some, like Seniors Action Yukon. The group is concerned about unvaccinated workers in long term care homes. But others, like the Yukon Employee’s Union, which represents government workers, want the government to approach things they way the Northwest Territories are, allowing for or extended use of PPE, remote work options and regular rapid testing of unvaccinated workers. The union even filed a grievance against the government over the matter.

What has remained unchanged is the fact that staring November 30 Yukoners accessing non-essential services like bars and restaurants will have to prove they’ve been vaccinated.

At the press conference, Silver also said that the government is working on a QR code reader app for business to verify people’s vaccination status.

Written by: CHON

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