‘Solemn Day’ for British Columbia as Thousands of Healthcare Workers Defy Vaccination Deadline – .

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‘Solemn Day’ for British Columbia as Thousands of Healthcare Workers Defy Vaccination Deadline – .


“It’s so disruptive and detrimental to care when we have epidemics in hospitals like we have a couple right now. And that’s why we put in place this vaccination mandate, ”said Dr Bonnie Henry.

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VICTORIA – British Columbia’s health minister called Tuesday a ‘solemn day’ as 4,090 healthcare workers missed the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination deadline and were placed on unpaid leave before of potentially losing their job.

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This represents just over three percent of the 126,000 health care workers in British Columbia.

Adrian Dix said 1,369 of the unvaccinated workers are in the interior region of the province and that overall vaccination rates are also low in Northern Health.

“Health authorities are taking action across British Columbia to address the challenges this presents,” said Dix.

On the same day, British Columbia announced a plan for all eligible residents aged 12 and over to receive booster shots by next May as part of a program already underway for those most in need. risk of getting an infection.

Dix joined with provincial health worker Dr Bonnie Henry in saying that the loss of unvaccinated workers in the health system will put additional pressure on hospitals, especially as 67 critically ill patients, most of them with COVID-19, have already been evacuated by plane. the northern region to other regions of the province to receive care.

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“It’s a huge thing. I cannot tell you the work carried out by our ambulance teams, by our nurses, all those who are involved in the movement of patients, ”he said.

Henry said there were fears that revolutionary infections would put more pressure on healthcare workers who have kept the mandate to be vaccinated and that it is essential that everyone working in the system is immune to protect their health. colleagues and patients as well as communities.

“It’s so disruptive and detrimental to care when we have epidemics in hospitals like we have a couple right now. And that is why we have put in place this vaccination mandate, ”she said.

Health workers who were not vaccinated on Tuesday had until November 15 to receive their first dose unless they have a medical exemption, although Henry said it would be rare.

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The deadline for vaccinating long-term care workers was Oct. 12, and Dix said that while more employees have been hired in the industry, recruiting will be more difficult for jobs requiring extensive training.

The BC Nurses Union said it could not provide an estimate of the number of its members vaccinated. Doctors of BC, the association that represents 15,000 physicians, said about 97 percent of its workforce had been vaccinated.

“We appreciate the choice people make.  But with choice comes a consequence and for now the consequence is that you won't be able to work, ”said Troy Clifford, president of Ambulance Paramedics of BC, CUPE Local 873.
“We appreciate the choice people make. But with choice comes a consequence and for now the consequence is that you won’t be able to work, ”said Troy Clifford, president of Ambulance Paramedics of BC, CUPE Local 873. Photo par Arlen Redekop /PNG

Troy Clifford, president of Ambulance Paramedics of BC, CUPE Local 873, said up to 200 of the 4,500 paramedics and dispatchers represented by the union either failed to report their immunization status or chose not to be vaccinated before about two weeks.

He said the union had tried to educate hesitant members about the scientific reasons for vaccination and struggled to understand the raison d’être of those who might lose their careers.

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“We appreciate the choice people make. But with choice comes a consequence and right now the consequence is that you won’t be able to work, ”said Clifford. “But the public expects, I believe, front-line workers, and I think we have a duty to protect our patients and each other. “

The province’s recall plan began last month with the most vulnerable people over the age of 70, Indigenous people in rural and remote communities, and frontline healthcare workers.

Henry said the most immunocompromised groups and people were vaccinated first and are on the verge of losing their immunity. They are expected to be prioritized until December before the general population is eligible for booster injections from January.

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“I believe this extra protection for our seniors and the seniors who have been so affected by the pandemic will make a big difference in helping us get through this respiratory season, ensuring that we don’t add extra burden to our hospitals. while the flu is starting to show up too.

Appointment bookings will be offered based on time since the second dose, typically six to eight months, Henry said.

She added that British Columbians had longer intervals between their first and second dose, which led to longer and stronger protection compared to programs in other jurisdictions, including the United States and Israel. .

“They opted for a very short interval, a three to four week interval between dose one and dose two. And our data, and data around the world has shown that that means you get that early decline in immunity over time. We also took a different approach earlier than many other provinces in Canada, ”she said.

“Very few long-term care people in British Columbia received their first two doses at a shorter interval, unlike other provinces, particularly Alberta and Ontario. “

More than 84% of British Columbians aged 12 and over have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province reported 457 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths on Tuesday.

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