BC mandates health worker shots, 3rd jabs for those at risk
On the day the BC Vaccine Card took effect, Health Minister Adrian Dix and the Provincial Health Officer declared that all healthcare workers in acute and community care facilities — like hospitals and clinics — will be required to get vaccinated by Oct. 26 as a condition of employment.
This requirement will include workers, students, physicians, residents, contractors, and volunteers who operate in healthcare settings. The order does not include people who don’t work for a health authority, like physiotherapists and chiropractors.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said that healthcare workers can apply for medical and religious exemptions to the mandate, and these applications will be reviewed through a “central process.”
In addition to this new mandate, Henry announced that third doses, or booster shots, will now be offered to about 15,000 British Columbians deemed clinically extremely vulnerable, upon recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
These include people who have had a solid organ transplant, are on immunosuppressant drugs, people with primary immunodeficiences, and those who have undergone stem cell transplants. According to Henry, these are people who may develop no or very little immunity to COVID-19 from the first two doses alone. These 15,000 people are expected to get a text or email from the province notifying them to go to a vaccine clinic and get their booster shot this week.
A second group, comprising about 120,000 people, have been identified as moderately immunocompromised and might need a third dose as well. The BC Immunization Committee and NACI are currently reviewing data to determine whether this is the case, and are expected to provide an update in late September or early October.
As of Wednesday, Sept. 15, 86.1 per cent (3,991,888) of eligible people 12 and older in BC have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 78.6 per cent (3,644,716) have received their second dose.
In addition, 86.7 per cent (3,749,484) of all eligible adults in BC have received their first dose and 79.5 per cent (3,439,273) have received their second dose.
BC is reporting 661 new cases of COVID-19, including two epi-linked cases, for a total of 176,480 cases in the province (66 new cases in Island Health).
There are currently 5,791 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 168,459 people who tested positive have recovered. Of the active cases, 288 individuals are in hospital and 137 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
– Capital Daily & BC Government