Victory for Toronto Nurses: Rationale for Nurses Who Refuse Flu Vaccine to Wear Masks “Insufficient, Inadequate, and Completely Unpersuasive”
The Ontario Nurses’ Association has won a major victory over St. Michael’s Hospital and eight other Toronto-area hospitals, as labour arbitrator William Kaplan wrote in a 53-page decision that forcing unvaccinated nurses to wear surgical masks during the flu season is a policy that is “insufficient, inadequate, and completely unpersuasive.”
Reporter Fred Lum of The Globe and Mail writes:
The hospital failed to prove that nurses who didn’t have flu symptoms were a significant source of infection and therefore would be required to wear masks if they weren’t inoculated, Mr. Kaplan said in his decision.
He noted that St. Michael’s own director of infection prevention and control, Dr. Matthew Muller, testified that “the likelihood of transmission is dramatically higher when you’re coughing or sneezing.”
Mr. Kaplan also heard an expert, Lisa Brosseau, a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences, testify that surgical masks fit poorly and aren’t an effective form of protection.