About four per cent of the 49,000 people who work at B.C.’s long-term and assisted-living homes hadn’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 by Tuesday, the first day a public health order requiring them to have at least one dose as a condition of their employment came into effect.
A similar order is coming later this month for health care workers in acute and community care settings.
For one of the largest LTCs, Menno Place in Abbotsford with 675 employees, that meant nine permanent workers and 19 casual employees were forbidden by a public health order from working and face termination in two weeks unless they get vaccinated, said CEO Karen Biggs.
“Some people chose to retire at this time rather than be vaccinated,” she told Postmedia via email. “Others are on long term disability or leaves so we don’t know their vaccination status.”
The province has collected data from all but four of the 546 long-term and assisted-living homes in the province. Of the 48,897 staff members approximately 96 per cent have had their first dose, and 93 per cent have had both doses.
Any scheduled workers who hadn’t been vaccinated were placed on immediate leave, according to Biggs.
“Unvaccinated staff go on unpaid leave until the (Oct.) 26,” said Biggs. “After that date, if they have not started a vaccination plan, they will be terminated so we can post their positions permanently, with benefits.”
Workers who choose not to be vaccinated will face “definite employment consequences,” said Mike Old of the Hospital Employees’ Union, which represents 20,000 of the workers in senior homes, most of them care aides.
He said the union has an obligation to support its members and would review any grievances on merit. And he said “anybody can go the B.C. human rights tribunal” with a complaint but he admitted the odds of winning a decision at the tribunal are slim.
Old said long-term and assisted-living homes are required by law to ensure all workers are vaccinated. Workers will have a chance to apply for a medical exemptions but conditions for those are strict, he added.
Under new provisions of the health order released this weekend, workers with one dose as of Tuesday could continue to work as long as they wear PPE, get regular rapid tests and plan a second dose in 28 to 35 days.
Those with zero doses can keep their jobs if they get their first dose before Oct. 25, after which they would remain off work for another seven days and then will need to follow the same prevention precautions when resuming work.
The deadline for British Columbia health-care workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is today.
The provincial health officer’s order covers doctors, nurses, students, residents, contractors, volunteers and all other health-care professionals.
Premier John Horgan says he’s hopeful that the small number of workers who are resistant to getting vaccinated will get the information they need to get their shots.
Those who don’t have their first dose of vaccine by the deadline can’t work unless they have a recognized exemption.
The order says unvaccinated workers who get their first shot before Nov. 15 can resume working seven days after the first dose, but they must wear personal protective equipment and take other precautions until they get their second shot.
The Health Ministry says 94 per cent of B.C. health workers were fully vaccinated as of Oct. 24, three per cent were unvaccinated and two per cent had one dose.
Overall, B.C. has reached an 89.6 per cent vaccination rate for first shots among eligible residents age 12 and up and 84.4 per cent have received their second dose.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Penny Ballem, the lead of the B.C. immunization rollout team, will provide an update on COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin on Monday unveiled plans to develop a commercial space station called “Orbital Reef” with Boeing, aiming to launch the spacecraft in the second half of this decade.
The venture will be built in partnership with Sierra Space, the spaceflight wing of defence contractor Sierra Nevada Corp, and will be backed by Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions and Arizona State University.
Orbital Reef will be operated as a “mixed use business park,” and plans to provide the infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open new markets in space, Blue Origin and Sierra Space said.
“Seasoned space agencies, high-tech consortia, sovereign nations without space programs, media and travel companies, funded entrepreneurs and sponsored inventors, and future-minded investors all have a place on Orbital Reef,” the companies said in a statement.
.<a href=”https://twitter.com/NASA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NASA</a> plans on retiring the <a href=”https://twitter.com/Space_Station?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@space_station</a> at the end of the decade, but there’s still important work that needs to be done! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OrbitalReef?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OrbitalReef</a> – <a href=”https://twitter.com/SierraSpaceCo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@SierraSpaceCo</a>’s new space station, will be operational in the second half of this decade, ready for research! <a href=”https://t.co/d3LQIRneQh”>https://t.co/d3LQIRneQh</a> <a href=”https://t.co/2PalPlB9jn”>pic.twitter.com/2PalPlB9jn</a>
Sierra in April announced plans to offer the first free-flying commercial space station.
In July, Blue Origin had a successful debut space tourism flight, with Bezos and three others aboard. Earlier this month, 90-year-old Canadian actor William Shatner — Captain James Kirk of Star Trek fame — became the oldest person in space aboard a rocketship flown by Blue Origin.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.