Provincial Health Officer Order and Notice Regarding Health Professionals Vaccination
From the desk of the Registrar, Rick C Gambrel
Please be advised that the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) today has posted the Hospital and Community (Health Care and Other Services) COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information and Preventive Measures – October 14th, 2021 Order. The order is addressed to those health care workers who are employed, contracted or funded to provide health care services by provincially funded organizations, including health authorities and provincial mental health facilities. These include those:
- employed by a regional health authority, the Provincial Health Services Authority, British Columbia Emergency Health Services, the Providence Health Care Society or a provincial mental health facility
- contracted or funded by a regional health authority, the Provincial Health Services Authority, British Columbia Emergency Health Services, the Providence Health Care Society, Ministry of Health or Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, to provide health care or services in a hospital or in the community
- contracted or funded by a person contracted or funded by a regional health authority, the Provincial Health Services Authority, British Columbia Emergency Health Services, the Providence Health Care Society, Ministry of Health or Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, to provide health care or services in a hospital or in the community
What this means for the College of Optometrists of BC registrants
- The College encourages all registrants to read the order https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/covid-19/covid-19-hospital-and-community-vaccination-status-information-preventive-measures.pdf
- The order also includes a “Notice to Health Professionals” (Part G) that states:
“TAKE NOTICE that in accordance with further direction from me, health professionals to be determined by me and their staff, not otherwise required to be vaccinated under the Residential Care COVID-19 Preventive Measures Order or this Order, will be required to be vaccinated by a date to be determined by me, in order to provide health care or services in the Province.”
College position on PHO orders and vaccination
- The College’s initial review of the order is that it applies, at this time, to individuals employed by, or who provide care in, the public health care system, and not to the majority of private providers. However, the “Notice to Health Professionals” signals that the Provincial Health Officer intends to, at a future date, broaden the order to a larger group of health professionals, including those who are self-employed or who work for a private employer (disclaimer: The College does not provide legal advice, and the above should not be read as such).
- The College will provide further updates as more information becomes available
- Today’s order sets out an important measure which the PHO has stated is needed to help protect British Columbians, including those who continue to be vulnerable to severe illness and death from COVID-19 even if they are vaccinated, and to assure the public that when they receive health care from a health professional they are not putting their health at risk.