Deadline coming for B.C.'s health-care workers to get vaccinated
The deadline for thousands of B.C. health-care workers to get their COVID-19 vaccinations is fast approaching and the province's health minister is still encouraging everyone eligible to get their shots.
The vaccine mandate requiring full vaccination for health-care workers comes into effect Tuesday. As of last week, about 96 per cent of workers were vaccinated, but about 5,500 still hadn't gotten even one shot.
If employees don't get a dose by Oct. 26, a public health order says they can't work.
Long-term care homes and assisted living facilities were the first subjected to the mandate because of the deadly consequences seen this year during the resurgence of COVID-19 outbreaks, blamed in part on the highly contagious Delta variant.
"When people are off sick from COVID-19 or have contacts of COVID-19, it affects staffing in hospitals … so this measure is necessary," Health Minister Adrian Dix said last week. "It's a tough measure, mandatory throughout our health-care system."
If unvaccinated workers get a first dose before Nov. 15, they can start work seven days after that shot, but must wear PPE and take other precautions until they get their second dose. Their second shot must be no more than 35 days after the first.
According to officials, as of last week, the region with the highest number of unvaccinated health-care workers is Interior Health (seven per cent), followed by Northern Health (six per cent) and Island Health (five per cent).
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Andrew Weichel