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COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health-care system workers remain in place

VICTORIA – COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health-care system workers continue to be in place.

Consistent with current provincial health officer orders, health-care system workers will continue to be required to be vaccinated with a primary COVID-19 vaccine series, unless they have obtained an exemption from the provincial health officer (PHO).

Two provincial health officer (PHO) orders regarding vaccination requirements for all workers in the health-care system – including hospital, community and residential care workers – were updated on Sept. 12, 2022, to align with each other and to be consistent with the updated Health Professionals COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information Order issued on June 10, 2022.

The scope of these orders has not changed. They continue to apply to people who work for health authorities, agencies funded by health authorities and long-term care and assisted-living facilities.

They do not, however, apply to regulated health professionals who do not work in these settings, such as dentists, naturopathic doctors and opticians.

As per the Health Professionals COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information and Preventive Measures order, issued March 7, 2022, and updated June 10, 2022, regulated health professionals were required to report their vaccination status to their regulatory colleges. This information was aggregated by each health profession and then made publicly available so that patients and clients could make informed decisions when seeking care. Vaccination status information about individual health professionals will not be made public.

Given the high rates of vaccination in these professions, and the current state of the pandemic, the PHO has decided to not require private, regulated health professionals to be vaccinated at this time.

The PHO and the ministry continue to work with these groups and their regulatory colleges on a process for informed decision-making for patients and clients.

In B.C. and globally, measures taken to combat the ongoing public-health emergency remain important. The trajectory of the pandemic over the next few months is uncertain as there is still significant spread of the COVID-19 virus in the province and around the world.

Spread of disease is also expected to increase again this fall and winter. The potential for another variant of concern to emerge remains a real concern.

Vaccine mandates protect vulnerable populations, including older and immunocompromised patients in hospitals, residents in long-term care facilities, as well as health-care workers and the overall health-care system. It is critically important to maintain this layer of protection for all of them.

The high uptake of COVID-19 immunization throughout the province has allowed most restrictive public-health measures to be lifted, however, all health professionals – and all British Columbians – are encouraged to get vaccinated, including getting their fall booster.

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