The Athabasca Health Authority is requiring all employees and contract-workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

AHA sent notice of their new vaccine mandate to employees on Aug. 18 and employees were encouraged to get the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday.

AHA Chief Executive Officer Allan Adam said they decided to implement the mandate in an attempt to keep their employees and patients safe.

“We’re just trying to protect our staff as well as protect our patients,” he said.

Adam said he thinks healthcare providers should get vaccinated against the virus.

“To me, it is important because I’m worried about the health of other individuals primarily because we are in the healthcare area of things,” he said. “We have to take care of ourselves too. We have to make sure we’re protected.”

Adam said the mandate is to get the last few employees vaccinated.

“Most of our staff are vaccinated,” he said. “It’s just a small few that haven’t been vaccinated so we’re just waiting for them to make the decision to do that.”

Employees that didn’t meet the deadline of Monday now have until noon on Friday to get their first dose.

Adam says there is no talk of terminating anyone who is unvaccinated.

Instead, he said the mandate is to encourage employees to get the vaccine.