FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — MLA Dan Davies has called on the provincial government to allow unvaccinated healthcare workers in B.C. to return to work.
Davies called for the change in the question period on February 28th at the BC Legislature, referencing B.C.’s healthcare crisis and healthcare worker shortage.
“At a time when we need all hands on deck, thousands of doctors and nurses who want to work are sitting on the sidelines,” Davies said.
Davies said the opposition had been asking for the mandate to be removed since June 2022 and that there was no reason not to align with other jurisdictions in Canada.
“There is no reason why we cannot follow their lead, especially with safety protocols in place.”
As of February 2023, only two remaining health jurisdictions in Canada, B.C., and Nova Scotia, have yet to allow unvaccinated healthcare professionals back to work.
Approximately 2,500 healthcare workers in B.C. were ultimately laid off due to the vaccine mandates. According to a Vancouver Sun article, approximately 297 employees at Northern Health were terminated due to the mandate.
In an interview with Energeticcity.ca, Davies said allowing unvaccinated healthcare workers back into the system would help fill the vacancies in the province’s healthcare system.
“There’s safety protocols that can be put in place that other jurisdictions use that’s working just fine,” Davies said.
“Why are we the outlier?”
Minister of Health Adrian Dix responded to Davies in the BC Legislature, stating that the vaccine mandates for health professionals were in place to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19.
“And so we have, and we continue to take actions to protect them.”
Dix also stated that Davies’ suggestion would overrule the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“I understand that it’s the position of the honourable member, and this is a public debate, and I say with the greatest of respect because I never criticized anybody for taking a contrary opinion to ourselves or Dr. Henry or anybody else,” Dix said.
“But what he’s suggesting is that we overrule the provincial health officer on a matter of public health in a pandemic — I don’t agree with that.”
In response to the accusation of going against the health officer, Davies told Energeticcity.ca that the province needed to align with procedures and science set out by other jurisdictions.
“We already know that the vaccine does not stop the spread. Right. So we’re not following what the federal government and other jurisdictions have actually come out now and said, here’s the science.”
Healthcare professionals not being allowed back to work due to vaccine mandates in B.C. is a prominent issue. It is one of the reasons why a group of northeast B.C. separatists have petitioned for Davies to be recalled.
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