Beaverlodge flip-flops on mandatory vaccinations

·2 min read

Town of Beaverlodge council did a 24-hour turnaround last week when it came to mandating vaccines for staff.

In a closed session portion of the Sept. 13 regular council meeting, council decided to require mandatory vaccinations for all town staff and council members, only to repeal the decision one day later.

The decision was repealed in a special meeting called on the next day.

“There's a lot of emotion to this, and, you know, we're getting hit head-on with COVID again, so it's not going to go away, and it's not going to get pretty soon,” said Gary Rycroft, Beaverlodge mayor.

Initially, on the Monday night vote, the decision was four to three in favour of mandatory vaccinations for council members and town staff, with the motion being brought forth by Coun. Terry Dueck.

The special meeting Tuesday repealed the previous night's motion, in a vote of six to one.

Dueck voted solely against the repeal.

Rycroft told the News that it was an emotional vote Monday night and afterward, it didn’t sit right with many councillors, causing some to lose sleep that night.

“We're very proud of the staff of the Town of Beaverlodge and then to force them to do something and basically imply that they're not smart enough to make the decision (when) most of them have already done it felt very inappropriate,” said Rycroft.

“There's a lot of really bad information out there that the anti-vaxxers are pushing,” he said.

“There's a lot of emotion.

"There's people that feel their religious rights are violated by vaccinations, so this is really a tough subject, but until we get a higher number of vaccinations done, we're going to be saddled with this plague for a long time.”

Some towns in Alberta, such as Banff, have voted to mandate vaccines to their staff or face termination.

Businesses such as Alberta Health Services (AHS) have also mandated vaccines to their employees, while others continue to follow provincial guidelines as they are put forth.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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