Media Release: SLMHC implements new mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for staff, physicians

As Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) prioritizes the health and safety of everyone at the hospital and long-term care facility, the organization is updating its COVID-19 immunization policy to require all staff, physicians, learners, contract care/service providers, support workers and volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 31, 2022.

“The update to our policy is designed to address the significant patient and resident safety risk that the COVID-19 virus in our hospital and long-term care home would place on our ability to deliver safe, high-quality and consistent care,” says Heather Lee, President and CEO of SLMHC.

The previous vaccination policy, introduced in early September, mandated staff and physicians to fill out a declaration form and either show proof of vaccination or submit negative COVID-19 tests every seven days.  To date, almost 95% of hospital staff and physicians have been fully vaccinated. Those who are medically unable to be vaccinated will still be required to submit official paperwork and adhere to regular testing prior to their start of shift every seven days.

Moving forward, effective January 31, all new staff, physicians, learners, contract care/service providers, support workers, and volunteers will be required to provide proof of full vaccination before offering services in any of SLMHC’s facilities. SLMHC is encouraging any individuals not yet fully vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, as vaccinations are the best way to keep hospital staff and their patients safe from COVID-19.

At this important juncture, we know that introducing the mandatory vaccination policy is a major step forward towards ending this pandemic,” says Dr. Laurel Laakso, Interim Chief of Staff. “We will continue to follow all infection prevention and control practices, including mandatory masking and adhering to provincial directives on personal protective equipment. We’ve seen that mandatory vaccination in long-term care homes has dramatically lowered the number of outbreaks in these environments.  We are joining the majority of Ontario hospitals in adopting a clear mandatory vaccination policy to protect our vulnerable patients and to take every precaution available to us to fight the pandemic and keep our hospital and long-term care unit safe.”

This policy is specific to those entering SLMHC to provide care and/or service and does not directly impact our patients or visitors. SLMHC reminds the public that we continue to keep the Ambulatory Entrance closed at this time, and that COVID-19 screening remains in place at both our Main Entrance and Emergency Department entrance. Information on how COVID-19 impacts the hospital and long-term care home (William A. George Extended Care Facility) can be found online at