Alberta Health Services (AHS) rescinded a policy which made COVID-19 immunization a condition of employment on Monday (July 18). 

The Immunization of Workers for COVID-19 policy came into effect in late 2021 during the Delta-variant wave of the virus. AHS has since stated that immunization without boosters has "limited effectiveness" in reducing transmission of the currently circulating Omicron variants. 

“The immunization policy was implemented to protect patients, healthcare workers, and the public at a time during the pandemic when the immunization required by the policy was still effective in preventing transmission and when it was needed most to help contain the spread of COVID-19,” stated interim president and CEO, Mauro Chies.  

“This was the right policy at the time and was based on the best evidence available to protect our staff and patients.” 

In addition, new hires and students will no longer be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 upon hire or placement. 

Workers continue to be required to stay home when sick, wear personal protective equipment and practice hand hygiene according to AHS. Masks are also still required in AHS facilities.  

Chies said policy and procedure must “constantly evolve” as the virus itself changes and new evidence emerges. AHS will continue to recommend COVID-19 immunization for healthcare workers, including all available booster doses.

Approximately 8.9-million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta as of July 11.