Splatsin latest First Nation to introduce mandatory vaccinations for staff | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Splatsin latest First Nation to introduce mandatory vaccinations for staff

Image Credit: PEXELS

The Splatsin First Nation has mandated all employees and elected officials to be vaccinated by the end of the month.

The Splatsin Workplace Vaccination Policy was approved by Tkwamipla7 (Council) Nov. 9, and gives staff and contractors until Nov. 30 to have their first dose and Dec. 15 their second.

Employees unwilling to get vaccinated will be placed on leave without pay for 90 days. If a staff member has not been fully vaccinated by the end of the leave period they'll have their contract terminated.

"We understand that vaccine confidence can be challenging among community members, and I want to acknowledge the historical reasons and trauma that have contributed to this," Splatsin Kukpi7 (Chief) Wayne Christian said in a media release. "However, it is very important that we work together to protect the community and to ensure that vital member services continue."

READ MORE: Only 50 new COVID cases in Interior Health

The release states the vaccination policy has been adopted in response to the fourth wave of COVID-19 and below-average vaccination rates in the community and the Enderby area.

The First Nation said that 62.5 per cent of the Splatsin community had been vaccinated by Nov. 10.

In the Enderby Local Health Area, 72 per cent has had their first dose and only 67 per cent had received two shots as of Nov. 16.

Splatsin's move puts them on par with the Okanagan Indian Band who introduced a mandatory vaccination policy in September.

Okanagan Indian Band members were required to have their first shot by Oct. 15 and their second by Nov. 30. Staff members that don't get vaccinated will have their contracts terminated.

As with Splatsin's mandatory vaccination policy, the Okanagan Indian Band does allow accommodations to be made for those unable to be vaccinated for legitimate reasons.

Splatsin has an inherent responsibility to maintain a safe work environment and implement strong measures to prevent further outbreaks and build confidence in the safety of our workplaces, Chief Christian said.

Across the Thompson-Okanagan the cities of Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton have all mandated their employees to become vaccinated.

Westbank First Nation told iNFOnews.ca it does not currently have a COVID vaccine mandate for employees, however, it is currently under consideration.

Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc confirmed it does not have a mandatory vaccination policy.

The Penticton Indian Band did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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