“We believe that this extra step over the steps we took earlier… that this extra step will add to the safety of all people living in long-term care,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said at the meeting. ‘a press conference.
This will apply to all licensed facilities, and every staff member, including volunteers, must be fully immunized by October 12.
It will be a condition of employment.
Dix said that in January of this year they reported 49 nursing home outbreaks to almost none in February.
He said this shows the importance of the vaccination program for healthcare workers in long-term care.
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But COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the province, Dix said, particularly in the Interior region.
“People living in long-term care are vulnerable and particularly vulnerable to COVID-19,” Dix said.
There are now eight facility outbreaks across the province, caused by unvaccinated people, said provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry.
As of Thursday, 82.3% of eligible people over the age of 12 in the province have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Of these, 72 percent are completely immune.
Visitors to long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities who are not fully immunized should wear a mask when visiting loved ones.
“I have very little patience for people who are not immune in health care”: Dr Bonnie Henry
COVID-19 – Growing support for mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers in British Columbia
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Henry has previously said that unvaccinated healthcare workers working in some situations will need to take extra infection prevention and control measures while caring for others, but on Thursday she said that was not enough.
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“I recognize this is a change from the direction we announced earlier in the spring, in June, where we thought it would be enough to put in place additional measures such as testing.” , she said. “We have now seen with the transmission of the new variants that we need additional protection in this high risk situation, even when the vaccination of residents is high, as is the case in facilities in this province.
“We have seen transmission from unvaccinated staff and this reinforces the need for protection of all people in long-term care.”
Acute care and community care workers also need to be fully immunized, but those details are still being worked out, Henry said.
Several major European countries, including France, Italy and Greece, have already implemented mandatory vaccines, and some major Canadian health organizations are calling on Canadian jurisdictions to follow suit.
Calls are increasing for mandatory vaccines against COVID-19 among health workers. This is what we know
The Canadian Nurses Association and the Canadian Medical Association were pushing for this measure.
“I think it’s always difficult for (governments) to make these decisions, but I think our job as leaders in health care is sometimes to make a tough decision and lead with science,” Dr. Katherine Smart, President-elect of the Canadian Medical Association. Global News said last week.
While some national medical organizations are pushing for the policy, the BC Nurses Union says it “strongly supports” vaccination for its members, but still believes “education and accurate information” is the key. best approach.
The union adds that if the province made a mandatory vaccine prescription, its members would have to comply.
Growing support for mandatory vaccinations for BC healthcare workers
Henry said they knew there could be negative reactions to the announcement, but health officials and legal officials believe it may be an effective requirement for employment at these facilities to protect some of the most vulnerable citizens of the province.
Terry Lake, CEO of the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) and EngAge BC said they fully supported the announcement on Thursday.
“Ensuring that everyone who works with seniors living in long-term care and assisted living homes in British Columbia is vaccinated against COVID-19 is essential for the safety and well-being of residents. and staff. We know families with loved ones in care will also welcome this news, ”Lake said in a statement.
“This order is particularly important as we face new variants of this pernicious virus that has so drastically affected seniors living in long-term care and assisted living facilities.”
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