Mandatory Vaccination Policy – all Service Providers
Vaccination protects residents, clients, designated care givers, employees, team members, and visitors from SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19). Vaccination will help prevent the introduction and transmission of COVID-19 and decrease the risk of outbreaks in health-care and home-care settings across the province.
Dr. Robert Strang, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Nova Scotia, announced on September 29, 2021 there will be mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for various sectors in Nova Scotia. This includes all workers, professionals and volunteers in licensed and unlicensed long-term care facilities.
Vaccination will also be required for the following in long-term care: visitors, volunteers, designated caregivers, contractors, hairdressers, and delivery and repair workers, etc. The expectation is to be fully vaccinated (first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine) by November 30, 2021.
Nova Scotia Health has developed a mandatory vaccine policy that will be shared and will provide a framework for service providers to adapt as their mandatory vaccine policy. The policy will be applicable to existing staff and new hires. Full vaccination will be a hiring condition for new staff. There will be additional information on best practices to support service providers in managing employee vaccine records. It will be the responsibility of the sites to keep accurate and current vaccine records for their staff.
The vaccine mandate allows for a medical exception process for staff and Designated Caregivers who are unable to be vaccinated. However, the medical reasons required for an exception are very specific and limited. An exception letter can only be issued by a nurse practitioner or physician.
Definition of fully vaccinated
A person is considered fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) 14 days or more after receipt of the vaccine schedules listed below, following minimum dosing intervals.
- 2 doses of a 2-dose series of a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech,AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD). This is inclusive of mixed vaccine schedules.
- 1 dose of a 1-dose series of a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccine(Janssen/Johnson & Johnson).
- Complete series of a non-Health Canada, World Health Organization authorized COVID-19•vaccine (e.g., Sinopharm or Sinovac)
An individual is considered not fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 if they have not received a COVID-19 vaccine series as described above, including only one dose of any two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series. More information can be found: Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine – Government of Nova Scotia, Canada
In addition to the mandatory vaccination policy effective November 30, 2021, the following changes are effective Monday, October 4, 2021 at 8 a.m.:
- Medical masks will continue to be mandatory for all visitors, Designated Caregivers and staff.
- Residents are permitted to leave the facility and stay overnight at a family home, Designated Caregiver’s home, or home of a friend (within Atlantic Canada), in accordance with the Guidelines dated August 4, 2021, except where prohibited. This will be based on zone epidemiology.
- Long-term care residents residing in Central Zone are not permitted to leave the facility and stay overnight.
- Residents residing in other zones may not stay overnight in Central Zone.
We continue to have resources and protocols in place to support you in your work. Continue to follow COVID-19 safety protocols including staff self-screening, and pre-screening and Point of Care Risk Assessment for clients. Continue to practice good hand hygiene, universal masking, and use of PPE as recommended. Also, please be advised that soon there will be an updated document for families posted at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/resources/ — scan down to “Long-term care visiting guidelines.” You may wish to provide this link or document to your families and residents