New requirements surrounding COVID-19 vaccination at long-term care and assisted living facilities in British Columbia take effect today.
Starting October 12, staff must have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to work. Anyone hired between October 12 and 26 must also have at least one dose of a vaccine and be seven days post-dose. New hires will then need to get their second shot 28 to 35 days after the first.
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“This is recognizing that it is important for us to have people who are vaccinated working in these high-risk settings,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week. “We know that vaccination rates are high, but in some places, they are not high enough.”
Henry adds that anyone ineligible to work after October 12 because they have not received at least one dose will be off as of that day without pay.
If a staff member at long-term care or an assisted living facility decides to be immunized after the fact, they will need to wait seven days before returning to work. Additionally, anyone hired after October 25 will require full vaccination.
The only medical exemptions will be considered and reviewed by Henry’s office.
New policies for visitors in long-term care, assisted living, and other healthcare settings also begin today. Starting October 12, visitors will need to show their BC Vaccine Card and proof of full immunization.
And as of October 26, that requirement will be needed for people visiting acute care and community care settings, such as hospitals.
“Those that aren’t fully vaccinated will not be able to visit in healthcare settings as we go into this time of increased respiratory illness and challenges,” Henry says.
Exceptions for specific situations, such as palliative and end-of-life care, will be made.