The Ministry of Health announced this past week that it will be giving third doses – boosters – of COVID-19 vaccine to all residents of BC who are over the age of 12.
People 70+ who are registered in the Get Vaccinated System, as well as Indigenous Peoples 12+, will first be invited to book their booster, which will help maintain protection against COVID-19.
Booster doses are underway for other priority groups, including residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities and vulnerable people living in shelters or high-risk congregate settings, and are in use as part of outbreak management.
The plan will expand to include all British Columbians 12 years of age and older, beginning in January 2022.
All booster doses will be mRNA vaccines. According to the Ministry, these vaccines are interchangeable. If anyone received AstraZeneca for their first or second dose, they will receive Moderna or Pfizer for their booster. Full details: news.gov.bc.ca/25604
Indoor mask mandate extended
The Provincial Health Officer has extended the mask mandate that requires masks be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout B.C.
The previous order, which was set to expire on Oct. 31, 2021, has been extended to continue to slow the transmission of COVID-19.
Masks are required in all public indoor settings for all people five and older, regardless of vaccination status. These settings include: malls, shopping centres, coffee shops and retail and grocery stores; liquor and drug stores; airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centres; restaurants, pubs and bars (unless seated); on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle; areas of office buildings where services to the public are provided; common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity; common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations; and inside schools for all K-12 staff, visitors and students..
Double-vaccination now required for all adults leading child/youth programs
The Public Health Orders around vaccine requirements have been updated to now require all, “adults supervising or assisting with youth sports must be fully vaccinated.”
This requirement does not apply to a person under 12 years of age; or a person 12 to 21 years of age who is participating in a program for children or youth or in a sports event.
Under the Proof of Vaccination section (Section D) of the Public Health Order, the following is stated, “7. An adult must have received two doses of vaccine if the adult is leading, supervising or assisting with a program for children or youth, whether the program takes place inside or outside.
“8. An adult who had not received two doses of vaccine must not lead, supervise or assist with a program for children or youth, whether the program takes place inside or outside.”
More information on this is available on the Public Health Order section of the BC Government web site at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions
Federal Vaccine Passport
As announced recently, the Federal Government of Canada is now issuing a COVID-19 proof of vaccination.
The Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination is a reliable way to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination history when travelling internationally and within Canada.
This proof does not guarantee anyone entry to another country. Before anyone travels, they must check the rules of the destination country and the countries they transit through. Everyone will need to show a proof of vaccination when travelling in Canada by air, rail or cruise ship as of October 30, 2021. For those who have signed up with the BC Health Gateway to obtain the BC Proof of Vaccination, that same system can be used to acquire a Canadian Proof of Vaccination.
Health Care Worker Vaccine requirement
3,325 health care workers in BC have been put on unpaid leave, as they have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
There are over 127,000 total health care workers in BC, 95.8% of them are fully vaccinated. 2,064 have only one dose so far.
In Island Health, 480, roughly 2%of all staff, were put on unpaid leave for not being fully vaccinated.