Fredericton Homeless Shelters fully vaccinated despite no mandate

    The Province of New Brunswick announced most government workers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 19, but homeless shelters aren't included in that mandate. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    The Government of New Brunswick announced all long-term care workers, staff and volunteers in schools and licensed early learning and child-care centres need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 19. But homeless shelters were not included in this mandate.

    Warren Maddox, the executive director at the Fredericton Homeless Shelters, said while COVID-19 vaccines aren’t mandated for employees of homeless shelters, they’re strongly encouraging their workers to get vaccinated.

    “The reason fundamentally is we’re dealing with an incredibly vulnerable population,” said Maddox.

    The homeless shelters had their own COVID-19 vaccine clinics for staff, volunteers and residents. Maddox said the Extra-Mural Nursing Program provided the shelter with the doses and helped plan the vaccination process.

    Only two people were hesitant to get the vaccine, but Maddox claims it was due to a fear of needles, not conspiracies. In the end, all his employees and the 37 residents are fully-vaccinated.

    Warren Maddox, executive director of Fredericton Homeless Shelters, said COVID-19 vaccines aren’t mandatory for homeless shelter employees, they strongly encourage workers to get vaccinated. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ Archives)

    Maddox welcomes the announcement of the vaccine mandate for government workers and praises the actions taken by the department of public health.

    “They’re a great group of people, they’re working really hard … dealing with people that are saying really silly, nasty stuff to them,” said Maddox.

    Katie Squires, a fourth-year STU student and an employee at the Fredericton Homeless Shelters, said everybody at her workplace believes in vaccines and understands their importance.

    “When you’re working with vulnerable people, you have to consider your own safety first … but you do have to think of [the residents] as well,” said Squires. “You’re in a position of power and they’re looking to you for safety and comfort.”

    Squires said there were no COVID-19 cases at the shelter, which can be attributed to the proactive measures taken by the staff. She said there are a lot of precautions being taken and the shelter employees are working around the clock to keep everything clean.

    “I don’t believe you should be forced to be vaccinated, but I do think you should have to be vaccinated to be able to work in certain areas,” said Squires.