August 8, 2021 – Hamilton ON: Ontario medical laboratory professionals join the Ontario Medical Association, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, and others in calling for science-informed measures to avert a fourth wave of COVID-19 this fall.
COVID-19 vaccines are one of the strongest tools we have to control transmission of the virus, as well as reducing risk of serious illness and hospitalization. Vaccinations protect our communities.
We join the OMA and RNAO in calling for mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers to better protect our patients, co-workers, families, neighbours, and our healthcare system. With the rise of more transmissible variants like Delta and Lambda, mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers in public and private settings will help keep Ontarians safe.
Last year, the back-to-school period hit Ontario laboratory professionals very hard. Fall’s collision with the return to classrooms and increased indoor contact meant a spike in testing, proving operationally difficult and demoralizing for MLTs and MLA/Ts across our province.
One year later, while 71.77% of adults 18+ are fully vaccinated and 81.64% have had at least one dose, we still face many hurdles. With children and youth returning to classrooms in September and vaccines still pending approval for Ontarians under 12, we are anticipating the gathering of the largest population of unvaccinated individuals.
We encourage all Ontarians to get vaccinated to ensure we can avert a fourth wave of COVID-19 and encourage the pandemic recovery of our province. Back-to-school means this is even more important for youths aged 12-17 and teachers who are not yet vaccinated.
Having processed nearly 17M COVID-19 tests in addition to 244.8M tests for other conditions annually, 87% of medical laboratory professionals are experiencing burnout.
After a year of COVID-19 we have a wealth of scientific research to inform decision-making in keeping us safe. This data confirms that vaccination, masking, ventilation, and minimizing interactions outside of immediate households are essential in minimizing the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission. We join our healthcare colleagues in calling on our government to use this information in planning for the fall.
Our government can act now to avert a fourth wave, keep the citizens of Ontario safe, and alleviate the burden on our healthcare system. Healthcare workers are exhausted—we must take science-informed preventative measures to support them.
- Michelle Hoad, CEO, Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario.