British Columbia has announced that it is rescinding its policy requiring provincial public servants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as it unveils a spring booster program that will focus on the elderly and vulnerable.
This development was disclosed by the Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry who stated that the next round of boosters will target people at the “highest risk” of severe illness.
According to her, that includes people aged at least 80, Indigenous people aged at least 70 and long-term care residents.
She also noted that people who are at least 18 and are moderately to severely immunity compromised are also recommended to get a booster in the campaign, which Henry says will begin “for the most part” in April.
Speaking at a briefing with Health Minister Adrian Dix, she said people aged at least 60 and Indigenous people aged 50 or more who haven’t had COVID-19 should consider getting a booster.
She undeterred anyone who falls outside the categories she described but still wants a booster to discuss the matter with their doctor or pharmacist to decide if it’s worthwhile.
The health officer said she expects to recommend boosters for everyone in B.C. in the fall before the next respiratory illness season begins, but it’s too early to say whether that will become an annual event.
More importantly, the province announced that from April 3, B.C. Public Service employees will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination.
In a statement, the Ministry of Finance said the decision to rescind the policy was made “based on the high level of vaccination among public-service employees and the current state of the pandemic.”
The ministry said more than 98 per cent of employees met the requirement.
According to the statement, ending the policy means “a small number” of employees on administrative leave due to non-compliance will get the chance to come back to work.
According to thegovernment, people are still required to be vaccinated if they work in settings under provincial health officer orders or other vaccination requirements, and vaccine mandates remain in place in the “highest-risk” settings like health-care facilities.
The statement said “The vaccination requirement for public-service employees, introduced in November 2021, was always intended as a temporary measure to help protect employees and the people they serve”.
It added that vaccination “continues to be the best protection against severe illness with COVID-19 for individuals, including children and youth, and has helped protect B.C.’s health-care system and the economy.”
Reacting to the development, president of the B.C. General Employees’ Union, Stephanie Smith said the union has requested a meeting with the B.C. Public Service Agency to discuss the change and ensure all members received “equitable treatment” under the now-rescinded policy.
In a statement, she said “From the beginning of the pandemic, BCGEU members have demanded clarity on how employers’ decisions affect us and our working lives”.
“Our union has a number of questions about how this change will impact our members,” she added.
SUPPORT NIGERIAN CANADIAN NEWS
If you like our work and want to keep enjoying what we offer, kindly support us by donating to the Nigerian Canadian News through the button below
Share your thoughts in the comments section below
Do you want to share any news or information with us? If yes, contact the publisher at email@example.com
Leave a Reply