The B.C. government has announced that staff working in long-term care and assisted living will be required to be vaccinated.
Provincial officials said workers will need to be fully vaccinated by October 12th, 2021 and it will be a condition of employment.
“This is a necessary step to take,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “This additional step will add to the safety and protection of everyone working in long-term care.”
All volunteers and personal care workers at those facilities will also be required to be vaccinated.
This comes after outbreaks at care homes across the province, after restrictions were eased on July 19th.
“We have seen transmission from unvaccinated staff and it has reinforced the need for protection,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “We have now seen with the transmission of the new variants, that we need extra protection in this highly risky situation.”
Provincial officials said there are some people that will not be able to get vaccinated, but it is a small amount and Public Health will be working with those staff to find a solution.
Dr. Henry said it is an important step to make sure the safety of people living in long-term is met.
“This is one additional measure which will ensure we have the best protections possible to prevent outbreaks, to prevent the introduction of this virus into long-term care facilities and assisted living and to make sure we can return to the quality of life that our seniors and elder deserve.”
Dix said the mandate will only affect long-term care and assisted living facilities as of now, but further action may be necessary.
“It is not mandatory for a citizen to be vaccinated in B.C., but there are things that you may not be able to do if you are not vaccinated.”