The region’s top doctor says she supports the provincial vaccination mandates for long-term care workers.

Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU), said in Wednesday’s health unit briefing that she thought the provincial decision was “reasonable.”

“I think it’s also the responsibility of staff that work at facilities to help protect the clients that they’re serving,” said Bocking. “We know from experience in this pandemic that long-term care home residents are the most vulnerable to severe COVID disease, and that’s where we saw very significant deaths associated with COVID-19.”

The Ministry of Long Term Care announced at the start of October that staff at long term care (LTC) homes would need to be fully vaccinated by November 15th. With many homes across the province already understaffed, there are concerns that the mandate could make the shortage worse.

“This is a long-standing issue. This is one that I think we need an overall long-term solution for, and really the pandemic, in a number of ways, has really highlighted it and exacerbated it,” said Bocking. “I would imagine that they’re really looking at every opportunity of how to build up that staff complement.”

Bocking added that she could not speak to any specifics, as she was not personally involved in conversations around LTC staffing.