ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Public sector workers in Newfoundland and Labrador have until Dec. 17 to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or face the possibility of being placed on leave without pay.

The province announced its mandatory vaccination policy today, which includes employer-approved medical exemptions.

The policy will apply to all provincial government employees and to workers who serve vulnerable populations, including health-care workers, teachers, child-care providers, and employees of businesses where the government's vaccine passport is required.

Officials say the vaccine mandate will also apply to any vendors, suppliers or contractors who regularly work with government employees.

They say workers who fail to show proof of vaccination by Dec. 17 will be considered as "not adhering to the policy" and face being suspended and placed on leave without pay.

Premier Andrew Furey says the decision to mandate vaccinations was not made lightly, and he describes the policy as "another tool" to help the public feel safe.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2021.

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