“British Columbians have risen to many challenges during this past year, with people and businesses finding new and innovative ways to support each other,” said Premier John Horgan, in a news release. “People who work in the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sector have answered the call to help with B.C.’s immunization plan. This partnership will provide new jobs for people while contributing to B.C.’s already accelerated vaccine rollout.”
Tourism and hospitality businesses have already begun to call and train hundreds of staff who have been laid off due to the pandemic. Workers from these industries will provide their expertise and logistical support as non-clinical staff at immunization clinics to help move people through the clinics efficiently and safely. Many of these workers bring additional language skills as well.
Community partners in this program include:
- Air Canada
- B.C. Pavilion Corporation
- Ceres Terminals Canada
- Canadian Red Cross
- Fraser Valley Bandits
- Pacific Destinations Services
- Pacific National Exhibition
- Tourism Whistler
- Vancouver Canucks
- Vancouver Giants
- Vancouver International Airport
Municipal venue owners are also helping operate some clinics with contributions of staff, furniture and supplies.
“People who work in tourism, hospitality and sport organizations in our province have been hit hard by the pandemic and the ability for them to contribute to B.C.’s immunization program is a unique opportunity to use their skills and experience in new ways,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “I’m inspired to see people from throughout the province pitching in to help make sure British Columbians are protected against COVID-19 so we can get back on track with travel, play sports and support the arts.”
B.C.’s age-based vaccine rollout continues to move forward ahead of schedule, as B.C. approaches Phase 3 of its immunization plan. Immunizations for workers in high-risk industries and critical services will also continue to accelerate in April.
“Our immunization program is the largest and most complex in B.C.’s history, with multiple sectors, industries and professions working together to get people immunized as quickly as possible,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This partnership is another incredible example of what can be accomplished when we work together to protect our communities from COVID-19.”
Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead, B.C.’s immunization plan rollout, said: “Since day one of our immunization program, we have been committed to tapping into the knowledge and expertise of our community partners. It takes a whole village to help implement this immunization effort, and we are proud to work with business and industry leaders and community organizations in every sector, along with municipalities to get vaccines to people in B.C. quickly and efficiently.”
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said: “People in B.C. have made incredible sacrifices to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe during this pandemic. Each of us has something unique to contribute in the fight against COVID-19, and our accelerating immunization program gives us reason to be hopeful about the months that lie ahead.”
Under B.C.’s accelerated timeline, everyone in the province who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine will now be able to receive a first dose before July 1, 2021.