B.C. mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for all long-term care, assisted living workers

B.C. mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for all long-term care, assisted living workers
Government of B.C.

As the number of outbreaks in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities rises in British Columbia, the Province says it will now make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all workers in those facilities.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officers announced the change Thursday, saying all workers will be expected to be fully immunized by Oct. 12.

Until then, unvaccinated workers will undergo regular testing and have to use additional personal protective equipment, Henry said.

The new health order applies to volunteers as well as personal services workers.

The announcement comes as there are currently eight outbreaks in B.C.’s long-term care homes, including Campbell River’s Discovery Harbour on the island where three workers tested positive last month and vaccination rates among staff are low.

Currently, there are around 40,000 employees fully vaccinated in the province and while unvaccinated workers have until the fall, volunteers must be vaccinated as soon as possible, according to health officials.

“We do know there are some long-term care homes and assisted living homes that have a relatively low rate of uptake of the vaccine,” said Terry Lake, BC Care Providers CEO. “So this absolutely will close that gap. and create a much, much safer environment.”

While the news is welcome to BC Care Providers, the union representing more than 20,000 workers in long-term care is expecting some of its members to refuse the vaccinations.

“It will be controversial but we’re hoping over the next few weeks, and especially as we get into early September, that as many of our members as possible who are able to be vaccinated get that first jab,” said Mike Old, secretary-business manager of the Hospital Employees Union.

Cases have been on the rise in British Columbia as the Province announced on Thursday over 500 new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row.

There are currently 3,834 active cases — including 220 active cases in Island Health — and 81 people in hospital, 29 of whom are in intensive care, in British Columbia.

As for the active case breakdown on Vancouver Island, there are currently 13 on the North Island, 69 on the Central Island and 111 on the South Island, according to the latest information update from Island Health.

READ MORE: Faculty association calls for mandatory masks and vaccinations at UVic


Mary GriffinMary Griffin

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!