More than 3,000 unvaccinated health workers in B.C. on unpaid leave, Dix says


    B.C. health officials said Monday that 3,325 health-care workers, or about 2.6 per cent of the workforce, are not yet vaccinated have been placed on unpaid leave.

    Health Minister Adrian Dix said, as of midnight Sunday, 127,448 workers in the province have worked at least one shift in the last three months. Of those, 122,059 are fully vaccinated, while 2,064 have received one dose. The remainder is not vaccinated and on leave.

    This number does not include long-term care and assisted living staff, Dix clarified.

    The situation in Interior Health is the direst at this time, Dix said, with 1,018 health workers on leave.

    A number of hospitals have been impacted by the staff shortages, he added, including Keremeos and Abbotsford. Kelowna General Hospital has had to cancel eye operations.

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    During the news conference, Henry also clarified that anyone who had two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine will receive a notice that they are eligible for their booster shot six months after their second dose. The booster will be an mRNA vaccine, meaning Pfizer or Moderna.

    Henry said this is because people with two doses of AstraZeneca have shown waning levels of protection, although it is still high for protection against severe illness.

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    The province has also updated mandatory vaccine rules for those working in the public service.

    All direct government employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, 2021.

    The guidance has also been updated to require contractors and others accessing employee-only areas of indoor public-service workplaces to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 13, 2021.

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    This does not apply to members of the public accessing government services.

    Providing proof must be done by showing the BC Vaccine Card indicating the person has been fully vaccinated.

    Click to play video: 'B.C. public service employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22'

    B.C. public service employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22

    B.C. public service employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22 – Oct 5, 2021

    Employees who do not provide proof of vaccination, or refuse to disclose their vaccination status by Nov. 22, 2021, will be considered unvaccinated.

    Workers who are unvaccinated and have not received an approved exemption based on a medical condition or other legitimate grounds, will be placed on unpaid leave for three months.

    Partially vaccinated employees – those who have received only one dose – may be offered alternative work arrangements and will be required to provide proof of full vaccination within 35 days of having received their first dose.

    Partially vaccinated employees who are not fully vaccinated within that timeline will be placed on unpaid leave.

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    Visitors at all acute care facilities across the province must now show proof of vaccination in order to visit friends and loved ones.

    Henry addressed the issue of mask-wearing in indoor public spaces and said masks should still be worn at indoor faith services, as COVID can still spread in these environments.


    © 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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