More than 4,000 unvaccinated healthcare workers in British Columbia, including hundreds in Island Health, are out of a job.
The deadline for those working in healthcare settings, including students, doctors, contractors, and volunteers, to get vaccinated was Tuesday (Oct. 26).
Adrian Dix, the province’s minister of health, announced during a press conference Tuesday all of those healthcare workers who aren’t vaccinated should look for new employment because they’re now out of a job.
“All of us are very solemn about this moment because the requirement to get vaccinated is an absolute necessity in our healthcare system,” Dix said, adding. “Those who are not able to work at present, and today and over the next couple of days, those will be formally losing their employment.”
The vast majority of B.C. healthcare workers did indeed get the jab, according to provincial figures, which show that a total of 126,343 workers received at least one dose.
Of those workers, 119,627 have received two or more doses while 2,626 remain partially vaccinated. However, 4,090 healthcare workers in B.C. remain unvaccinated.
Within Island Health, 678 workers are not vaccinated, representing just three per cent of the total workforce of 23,000 workers.
That includes nurses, doctors, care aides, and those working in administration.
While 97 per cent of doctors working in hospitals and clinics run by the health authorities are vaccinated, the province is working to extend the vaccine mandate to include those working in private practices, according to the President of Doctors of BC, Dr. Matthew Chow.
“Eventually we have been given fair warning, as healthcare professionals, that this will eventually apply to private practices as well,” said Dr. Chow.
Dix said if the now unemployed healthcare workers do get vaccinated, they can return to work.