B.C. politicians vote against lifting vaccine mandate for health-care workers

A vote was held at the Union of B.C. Municipalities this week about the mandate requiring health-care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

B.C. is the only jurisdiction in Canada with a vaccine requirement in the health-care system.

Despite a long debate this week, municipal leaders from across the province ended up voting down a motion suggesting B.C. should scrap the requirement.

“The people who are in hospitals are vulnerable,” Karen Harper, a councillor from Saanich said. “Young old, doesn’t matter Everyone has a right to be as safe as possible.”

However, northern B.C. politicians said their communities have been disproportionately impacted by the mandate.

“We lost a doctor at the hospital in Smithers because of this, that one doctor may have 2,000 patients,” Chris Newell, the director of the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District said.

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“You lose one health-care worker, it’s huge.”

Click to play video: 'BC among last to require COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers'

BC among last to require COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers

B.C.’s Health Minister, Adrain Dix, said the province is not considering changing the mandate at this time.

He said nurse staffing is up more than six per cent in the province this year, compared to being down one per cent in Alberta, where there is no vaccine mandate.

“The reality is jurisdictions with a mandate have fared much better than those without,” Dix said.

B.C. United and the Conservative Party of B.C. have been advocating to lift the mandate, with one argument being made that it could have been a few years since a vaccinated health-care worker received a shot, making it far less effective.

“Over 99 per cent of doctors have gotten vaccinated and that should tell us why we need to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” Dix added.

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