BC health officials hint at ‘consequences’ for those not vaccinated against COVID-19 – .

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British Columbia adds 89 cases as seven-day average continues to rise – .


VANCOUVER – Senior health officials in British Columbia announced on Tuesday that the province is changing the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine and hinted there will be “consequences” for those who choose not to. vaccinate.

Dr Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr Penny Ballem all spoke about the vaccination plan on Tuesday, saying a more targeted deployment and walk-in appointments will hopefully help immunize more British Columbians.

The trio pointed to data that showed less than five percent of recent COVID-19 cases in British Columbia were in people who were fully vaccinated.

But once everyone has had a fair chance to get their COVID-19 vaccine doses, health officials have warned that there could be impacts on those who opt against them.

“It’s a choice to be immune, but there are consequences for people who are not immune and it’s going to be more important for us as fall approaches, because we know this virus is going to increase.” and we’ll probably see other respiratory viruses, ”Henry said Tuesday.

“We will look at the measures we need to put in place to protect people, especially those who are most vulnerable. “

The best doctor used the rules in long-term care homes as an example. Restrictions were relaxed in nursing homes on July 19, but those who have not been fully immunized must still wear a mask when visiting residents.

Health workers in these settings should also remain masked and be tested frequently if they are not vaccinated.

“We must first give everyone the opportunity to be vaccinated. This is very important in health care and I have very little patience for people who are not vaccinated in health care, ”said Henry.

“If people choose not to get the vaccine and you work in the health care industry, you won’t be able to work in certain settings without taking extra steps. This decision will have consequences.

Terry Lake of the BC Care Providers Association said unvaccinated staff would be required to undergo regular testing and wear masks and eye protection. He said the association would have preferred the vaccine to be mandatory.

Outside of healthcare facilities, Henry hinted that she supported companies to set their own rules, saying it could help people feel more comfortable.

“If I was running a nightclub, I would like to make sure my staff are protected. And yes, we can absolutely say, “to get in here you have to be immune,” she said.

“It affects your business. If you have an outbreak and it spreads between employees, the business will have to shut down for a while. “

Jeff Guignard of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees disputed that Henry chose the nightclubs. He said the industry has made its own changes to create safer environments, including making sure people don’t go to the bar to get service. He added that many establishments verify identity and that verification of vaccination status is a topic the industry is discussing.

“If this is what Dr Henry wants us to do and the BC Privacy Commissioner approves it, then of course we get her back like we have the whole pandemic,” he said. he told CTV News.

He said, however, that enforcing the rule could prove problematic, stressing that current vaccination cards could easily be duplicated or falsified. So far, the province and the federal government have said they won’t need vaccine passports to access public services.

Dix explained that these practices are not uncommon. The Minister of Health reported cases of measles in 2019 that prompted health officials to attempt to vaccinate more students in British Columbia against the disease.

“What happened was that a significant number of people stepped up and were vaccinated at that time, but, to be clear, when there was a measles outbreak in a measles school and that you are not vaccinated, your child will be excluded from school during this period, ”said Dix.

“So there are consequences when you choose not to be immune. “

Health officials have said they hope hesitant British Columbians will take the opportunity to speak with a health care provider about their questions and concerns.

“There are consequences of not being immunized even though it is not mandatory in our province,” said Dix.

As of Monday, 80.6% of eligible BC residents aged 12 and over have received their first vaccine against COVID-19. In this same age group, 64.4% were fully immunized.

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