Three years after COVID-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic, the province has rescinded its mandatory vaccination policy for government workers and public servants.
As of April 3rd, BC public service employees will no longer have to provide proof of vaccination to work in their given role. The policy was put in place in November 2021 to protect workers returning back to work.
The thought process behind cancelling the mandatory vaccination policy is that around 89% of employees have met the requirement and immunity among staff has been created and upheld as a result.
Due to the policy being rescinded, the nearly 11% of employees who were placed on administrative leave for not getting the vaccination will be given the chance to return to their respective workplaces.
This policy rescission also means contractors and non-employees will no longer have to provide proof of vaccination to work in government buildings and spaces.
People working in healthcare fields will still require vaccination if their workplace has provincial health officer orders or other vaccination requirements. In any healthcare system space in BC the mandatory vaccination mandate is still in effect and will be following the policy’s rescission.
Adrian Dix, BC’s Minister of Health, insists the pandemic is not over and it is still recommended that all employees of the BC Public Service keep their vaccinations up to date. Vaccination is proven to be the best protection against COVID-19.
To recognize the fact that it’s been three years since BC and the rest of the world came to a screeching halt, Dix along with Premier David Eby and Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer made a joint statement on where the province stands.
“Today is Canada’s National Day of Observance,” they said in their joint statement.
“On this day, we take time to remember all those who have died or have had health complications as a result of COVID-19, and honour our health-care and front-line workers who have been working selflessly and courageously since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago.”
Three years ago, COVID-19 changed lives around the world. We mourn the people we've lost & honour the health-care & frontline workers for their tireless work. Let's all continue to keep each other safe. https://t.co/i4eJZbOyyW#CovidBC #Covid19 pic.twitter.com/QKBc6VjBBM
— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) March 11, 2023
“It was on March 11, 2020, that the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Since then, SARS COV-2 virus has challenged people and communities around the world in unprecedented ways.”
“Today, we stand together and observe a moment of silence to remember and honour those people who have lost their lives, while also thinking of their family and friends. This virus has been particularly hard on seniors and Elders in our families and communities and we hold them in our thoughts again today.”
The trio who helped lead the province through unprecedented territory expressed their admiration for all front-line workers who endured some of the most challenging times of their lives and recognized that the effects and consequences of the pandemic hit close to home for all British Columbians.
Despite the mandatory vaccination mandate being lifted among public servants in BC as of April 3rd, Dix, Dr. Henry and Premier Eby all expressed their collective gratitude for those who complied with vaccine orders.
“We know this was no small request and we are deeply grateful to everyone who stepped up to do their part,” read the joint statement.
“Your sacrifices — great and small — made a difference and helped British Columbia emerge from the darkest days of the pandemic.”
“As we emerge from the pandemic and look to the future, we must continue to work together to keep each other safe and build a healthier future for all of us.”
Going forward, Dr. Henry and Dix continue to push British Columbians to get booster shots as spring approaches. All immunizations that BC residents get contribute to the province’s immunity as a whole, and by getting a booster, people will better be able to protect their loved ones from COVID-19.
All British Columbians who are at high risk of severe illness; including individuals older than 80-years-old, all seniors in long-term care homes, Indigenous people older than 70-years-old and people 18-years-old and above who are moderately to severely immunocompromised can get a spring booster.
“In addition to high-risk individuals, people 60 and older, or Indigenous people 50 and older, who have not previously contracted COVID-19, can also consider receiving a spring booster dose,” said Dix and Dr. Henry.
“We also continue to encourage everyone six months and older to get immunized with a primary series and, if they’re eligible, a booster dose, including anyone 18 and over who has not yet received a bivalent booster dose.”
Appointments can be made at most pharmacies and health clinics by calling 1-883-838-2323 or by visiting the provincial vaccination registry’s website.
“We thank everyone in B.C. for continuing to roll up their sleeves and look out for each other. Together, we will continue to emerge from this pandemic stronger,” said Dix and Dr. Henry.