As of October 26, all healthcare workers in the province must be fully immune to COVID-19 or receive an exemption from the provincial health worker.
The nurses’ union says they have been pushing for nurses to be immunized, but those who choose not to should instead be required to do daily COVID-19 tests and wear additional personal protective equipment, rather than losing their job.
How will the Government of British Columbia prevent the collapse of the health care system after the announcement of mandatory vaccination?
“Our health care system would collapse,” said BC Nurses Union vice president Aman Grewal.
“It’s going to have an impact on the care that is provided because the resources are not there. This is where the government needs to focus its attention. “
All BC healthcare workers must be vaccinated against COVID by October 26: officials
There are over 40,000 nurses in British Columbia. Neither the union nor the province have official vaccination rates, but estimates are between 90 and 95 percent.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province did not make the decision lightly, but it was concluded that British Columbia could no longer have the situation, given the severity of COVID- 19 and its impact, where people work without vaccination.
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“We are in a pandemic. It presents very high risks in health care. We have these very effective and very safe vaccines. Everyone who works in the health care system is expected to be immunized. The level of risk in the health care system justifies it, ”said Dix.
It is still unclear how many nurses will refuse to be vaccinated. Each exemption request will be considered individually.
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“We’re going to have to prepare for the circumstances if people leave certain positions and that’s why, in part, we’ve continued to add healthcare workers in this pandemic,” Dix said.
The first face of the vaccination mandate will come into effect on October 12, when all 49,000 long-term care and assisted-living staff will need to be vaccinated.
British Columbia to make vaccines mandatory for health workers
Paramedics should also be vaccinated. BC Ambulance Paramedics chief Troy Clifford says about 95 percent of its 4,500 members have been vaccinated.
Clifford says they’re worried staff will leave and put additional strain on an already strained system. But the risks of not getting the vaccine are much greater.
“Paramedics who get sick and can’t come to work are worse for our system,” Clifford said.
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