During Monday evening’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls, Director of Corporate Services Kerry Costello brought the Covid-19 vaccination policy to council’s attention. As an employer, the town passed a vaccination policy into effect in November, 2021. This policy requires anybody employed by the town to have at least two vaccinations against Covid-19.
“It is management’s recommendation that we maintain the policy,” reported Costello, “And it is worth noting that the World Health Organization is still referring to Covid-19 as a pandemic.”
Mayor Pankow shared that the larger municipalities in our area have removed their vaccination policies. “While I acknowledge we are still in a pandemic, I’m not sure the policy is as relevant today, largely due to the realization that the 2 vaccines that would have been in place don’t have the same efficacy a year later. While we have boosters, our policy speaks to the provision for the initial two vaccines.”
The mayor pointed out that the province is working on removing public health policies that were in effect throughout the peak of the pandemic. “I want to put it on the shelf, and revisit it if necessary,” he said.
Councilor Jay Brennan was a member of the council that brought in this policy. “At the time, I was the first one to put my hand up in favour of this. Things have changed, we have effective vaccines, a treatment if you happen to get Covid … I think it’s time to move on. If things change for the worse, we’ll deal with it then.”
Councilor Chris McGuire agreed as well. “I’m happy to see consensus around this issue. I think this is the least we can do, and it’s way overdue at this point.”
“I am also in agreement,” said Councilor Dawn Quinn. “This policy should be put on the shelf for now. Let’s get back to as much normal as we can.”
Council was unanimous in expressing their wishes to rescind the Covid-19 vaccination policy.