COVID-19: Health professionals in private practice face vaccine mandate

On Friday, B.C. recorded 667 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 new deaths.

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B.C. doctors, dentists and other health professionals in private practice will soon be required to get vaccinated.

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an order Friday putting unvaccinated health professionals on notice that they would be required to be vaccinated in order to see patients or provide care or services in B.C.

The notice was directed at health professionals not covered by previous orders, including those who work in private practice and do not have privileges at a hospital or health-care facility. Henry’s order did not specify a deadline.

COVID-19 vaccinations are already mandatory for staff at long-term care homes and assisted living facilities. Anyone who works in a health-care facility, including hospitals, will be required to be fully immunized by Oct. 26.

In a note sent to members on Friday, the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. said it “interprets the order to mean that, in time, all of our registrants will be required to be vaccinated to provide health care or services in B.C.”

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It said it supports Henry’s office and expects members to comply with provincial health officer orders.

Doctors of B.C. also said it supports mandatory vaccination of health-care workers. The vaccination rate among physicians is about 97 per cent, said the organization.

On Friday, B.C. recorded 667 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 new deaths.

Eleven of the deaths occurred in the Fraser Health region, where Willingdon Care Centre, a Burnaby long-term care facility, has been grappling with a COVID-19 outbreak since late September that has infected at least 90 people. Two deaths occurred in the Interior.

Out of 5,128 active cases in the province, 367 people are in hospital including 152 in intensive care.

The new figures come a day after Henry introduced “circuit-breaker” restrictions in most of northern B.C., where hospitals have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

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Northern Health, which has seen the highest rate of infections and hospitalizations in the province, reported 184 cases on Friday. Fraser Health had 246 cases; Interior Health, 101; Vancouver Coastal, 75; and Island Health, 59.

There have been 196,433 cases of COVID-19 and 2,055 deaths from the virus in B.C. since the start of the pandemic.

More than 3.8 million people, or 83 per cent of eligible British Columbians 12 and older, are fully vaccinated, while 89 per cent have received their first dose.

chchan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/cherylchan


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