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UPDATED: AHS backtracks, allows all unvaxxed staff back to work with COVID testing


Alberta anesthesiologist Dr. Joanna Moser — placed on leave without pay by Alberta Health Services (AHS) — said the provincial government’s constant backtracking on the COVID-19 vaccine policy has been traumatizing.

“This has happened three times now,” said Moser of the Alberta government and AHS flip-flopping on their COVID-19 vaccination policy.

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“This has created psychological trauma and constitutes abuse from our employer. It’s bullying and harassment for those of us that love our jobs and just want to be able to take care of our patients,” Moser told the Western Standard on Thursday night.

Moser, a staff anesthesiologist at the South Health Campus and clinical assistant professor at the University of Calgary, also assists in the Red Deer regional hospital with locum privileges.

Moser was put on leave without pay by AHS along with more than 1,400 other medical workers who did not provide proof of vaccination by the set deadline of December 13. The original deadline of October 30 was bumped to November 30 before it was moved again to December 13.

Shockingly, the province changed its policy for the third time and announced Thursday afternoon it had directed AHS to offer all unvaccinated employees the option to return to work with frequent COVID-19 testing.

Moser called the government and AHS’ “yo-yo” approach to the vaccine policy “traumatizing” adding “the emotional toll this is taking on us is huge.”

With the help of lawyer Jeffrey Rath, of Rath & Company, Moser is one of four plaintiffs suing AHS and President and CEO of AHS, Dr. Verna Yiu for mandating vaccinations for all medical staff to continue working.

Even though she has had severe allergies to past vaccines, Moser’s requested medical exemption was denied.

“From an HR (human resources) perspective, what these people are doing is despicable,” Rath told the Western Standard.

“This schizophrenic approach exhibits a huge level of incompetence. This announcement from the Alberta government demonstrates that they don’t actually have a clue what they are doing.”

Rath said he believes Yiu should step down and the rest of the executive team at AHS should be “fired and replaced.”

“Considering the infection rates are at 81% for double vaxxed makes it clear their mandatory vaccination policy doesn’t qualify as a bonafide occupational requirement.”

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) said Thursday’s announcement is “great news” for their clients. The JCCF is also representing another four doctors in a lawsuit against AHS.

“This is exactly what we asked Justice Henderson to do for our doctor clients in our Interim Injunction Application on December 14,” said JCCF staff lawyer Richard Secord
“This is great news for our clients, but what will be the cost of AHS’ constant flip-flopping?” asked Eva Chipiuk, another staff lawyer with the JCCF.

“We are 20 months into this pandemic, this type of behaviour would have been acceptable early into the pandemic when little was known. AHS should have known better by now.

“Finally, it appears the onus is on AHS staff to pay for and obtain these tests on a constant basis, as often as every 48 hours. There has to be some job security for our hard-working health care professionals, so they are not terrorized at every wave of virus in the future.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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