The B.C. Ministry of Health says it is working on a plan that will require doctors and dentists who operate out of private practices to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Health care workers who don’t work at public facilities such as hospitals aren’t currently required to be vaccinated. But a spokesperson for the ministry told Black Press Media that will change.
“We are actively working on the details of the order such as how to determine if registrants are vaccinated and how to collect that information. We will release the order as soon as these details are finalized.”
Public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order stipulated staff at long-term care and assisted living facilities be vaccinated by Oct. 12. Staff who work at public health-care facilities were required to have their first dose by Oct. 26.
But the order only applied to those were employed or contracted by health authorities working in clinics and hospitals. Doctors who practise on their own property, for example, and don’t visit hospitals are not yet required to be vaccinated.
“We continue to work with the health professional regulatory colleges to assess vaccination status of health professionals and develop policies to ensure they are fully vaccinated while providing care in B.C.,” said the ministry spokesperson.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the provincial regulatory body for doctors, said it will take direction from Henry when that order is made public.
A spokesperson for the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, meanwhile, said it expects dentists will be included in the vaccine mandate.
“CDSBC 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. At the time of this response, further direction to health professionals, including oral health care professionals, in B.C. has not been ordered.”
Health minister Adrian Dix said 2,071 health care workers were on leave for declining the vaccine as of Nov. 9. Meanwhile, all government staff or anyone who works in a public service workplace must be vaccinated by Dec. 13.