09 Feb How will the COVID-19 booster vaccine impact Canadian workplace policies?
Over recent months, employers have been implementing vaccination mandates to combat the spread of COVID-19 at work. Some employers have decided to implement these policies corporately, and others have been instructed to implement them by the government. These mandates have been ordering employees to receive their first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to achieve “full vaccination status”. However, with the upsurge of Omicron, the government is encouraging third and even fourth doses for eligible individuals. How will this impact vaccination mandates moving forward?
Adults who have been fully vaccinated for three months or more are now eligible to receive a third vaccination, which is now popularly known as the “booster shot”. Because Omicron is much more contagious than previous variants, the government has been encouraging that all citizens receive their booster as soon as possible to help lessen the severity and spread of COVID-19.
There is speculation that three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will become the new “full vaccination” status. There have been institutions in the USA, for example universities like Yale and Columbia, that have updated their vaccination mandates to include a third dose of the vaccine. Most of the institutions who have been amending their mandates are those who already required full vaccination status.
In Ontario, our response to Omicron has begun with requiring the use of QR codes, and not just vaccination slips. The QR codes are required to demonstrate first and second doses at this time. Full vaccination status has not yet been updated to three doses. The Government of Ontario released updated information on December 20, 2021, that a third dose will be accessible to those eighteen years or older. Ontario has only strongly encouraged those citizens receive a booster, but it has not yet become mandatory.
As the effectiveness of the second dose decreases over time, a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will become more necessary. It seems that the natural progression, if COVID-19 continues to circulate, will be to add this third dose to the full vaccination status represented on QR codes and vaccination mandates.