Most regulated health professions in B.C. have over 90 per cent vaccination rates, with dietitians, physicians and surgeons having the highest.
In the province, 98 per cent of dietitians, physicians and surgeons are vaccinated against COVID-19, followed by occupational therapists with 96.9 per cent vaccination rate.
The professions with the lowest vaccination rate are naturopathic physicians with a vaccination rate of 69.2 per cent, chiropractors at 78.1 per cent, and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists at 79.0 per cent.
“I know in my discussions with the registers of the colleges some people have been reluctant or slow to respond to the college’s need for this information, so it is probably an underestimate,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer during a news conference.
“As well we know that some regulated health professionals have views about the vaccination, and we only recently had alternatives to the mRNA vaccines available for some people and that’s an important choice for some practitioners. So this will change over time.”
Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister noted outside those three professions, most health professions in the province have a vaccination rate of over 90 per cent.
“The group of people that will be I think most unhappy with those results are the vast majority of people from those three colleges who are vaccinated,” Dix said. “I think it’s that group of people which may have more concerns with some of their colleagues who have for whatever reason chosen not be vaccinated.”
The rates in the 18 health regulatory colleges as of April 25, 2022 are as follows:
- physicians and surgeons: 98.0 per cent
- dietitians: 98 per cent
- occupational therapists: 96.9 per cent
- pharmacy technicians: 96.8 per cent
- pharmacists: 96.7 per cent
- psychologists: 96.1 per cent
- optometrists: 96.0 per cent
- dentists: 95.9 per cent
- physical therapists: 95.2 per cent
- opticians: 94.9 per cent
- speech language pathologists: 92.9 per cent
- denturists: 92.9 per cent
- dental assistants: 92.8 per cent
- dental hygienists: 92.6 per cent
- audiologists/hearing instrument practitioners: 91.9 per cent
- dental technicians: 90.7 per cent
- massage therapists: 87.9 per cent
- traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists: 79.0 per cent
- chiropractors: 78.1 per cent
- naturopathic physicians: 69.2 per cent
On March 7, 2022, the PHO issued the Health Professionals COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information and Preventive Measures order, which required the colleges to collect the vaccination status of people registered with the college.
Henry said they are currently working on a way to share with people which professionals are or aren’t vaccinated so they can make an informed decision about scheduling in person medical appointments, but are balancing that against the health professionals right to privacy.
“There are several ways that it could be, for in person services that we receive from a health care provider and it may be things like when you call to book an appointment, you’re asked if you have a preference to see vaccinated and unvaccinated,” Henry said. “So we are trying to work out those details in a way that protects privacy but also gives agency to people to make those decisions.”