B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has announced that the province’s vaccine mandate for health-care workers will now include dentists, chiropractors and other health practitioners regulated by B.C.’s health-care colleges.
Henry made the announcement at a news conference on Wednesday. The vaccination deadline under the new order is Mar. 24 for all health-care practitioners who were not covered by an initial order on Oct. 26.
The Oct. 26 mandate covered all workers in acute care and long-term care settings, with Henry, at the time, announcing she was working with the province’s 19 regulatory colleges on the new order.
“It is the vaccine mandate in health care that has made a huge difference in our ability to manage through this wave,” she said. “This is going to be a serious respiratory illness that’s going to be with us at least for another year,” she said Wednesday.
The new vaccine mandate is set to be rolled out in a phased manner, Henry said, and there will also be opportunities for those under the mandate to provide medical exemptions.
The news conference comes a day after the B.C. NDP delivered its throne speech, in which the provincial government said keeping British Columbians safe and healthy as the COVID-19 pandemic persists remains its top priority.
The speech highlighted B.C. as having one of the highest vaccination rates in North America.
Restrictions on gatherings are set to expire on Feb. 16., and Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province is currently on track to see those eased or lifted.
Other Western provinces have announced plans to drop their vaccine card policies, either immediately or in the next week. However, on Jan. 25, the provincial government said B.C.’s vaccine card would remain in place until at least June 30.
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