New Brunswick says its COVID-19 vaccine mandate will no longer be a condition of employment for civil servants come March 28.
The announcement on March 18, however, does not include employees working at health facilities, Ambulance New Brunswick, corrections, and those who provide health-care services to patients residing in homes, including personal residences, special care homes, and nursing homes under the provincial Extra-Mural program.
The province said these categories “remain vulnerable sectors.”
“Unvaccinated employees working in facilities of the regional health authorities, Extra-Mural /Ambulance NB, and corrections will remain on leave without pay until fully vaccinated with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine,” the province said in a press release.
All other unvaccinated civil servants who were put on leave without pay will have to report back to work on March 28.
“Full vaccination remains a condition of employment for current and new employees in nursing homes and adult residential facilities licensed by the Department of Social Development,” the province said.
The amended vaccine policy also applies to volunteers, onsite vendors, suppliers, and contractors.
The province said it will reassess its vaccine policy for workers in the vulnerable sectors by the end of March.
The vaccine mandate for provincial government employees was announced by Premier Blaine Higgs last August. At the time, employees were required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by Sept. 13, 2021, or be forced to wear masks and undergo three rapid tests per week and one PCR test per month.
On Oct. 5, 2021, Higgs changed the requirements, mandating all civil servants to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 19, 2021.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.