Health providers across the state are concerned that the mandatory vaccine policy for long-term care facility employees will put more pressure on the already struggling health care system.
From September 13th, all long-term care facilities and employees of long-term care facilities will be required to receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine. By October 12, all workers must be fully vaccinated to continue working.
Hendrik Van Ryk is the CEO of H & H Total Care Services, a privately owned organization that operates five care homes on Vancouver Island and inland.
He says care homes have had to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks, staff shortages, and vaccine-hating workers who are now looking for other jobs since the pandemic began.
Van Ryk says the mission raised serious concerns for some of his sites.
“It’s likely that 20-25% of our staff will be lost, because they don’t want to be vaccinated,” Van Rick told CBC News.
The state’s vaccine policy targets long-term care facilities, but does not apply to community care such as acute care facilities and home care workers.
Van Ryk is afraid to lose many employees who refuse to vaccinate other facilities.
“The challenge we have is that many people want to stay in medical care, but because they have a lot of work, they can cross the street and go to a general hospital in the area to get a job. “I will.”
Menno Place in Abbotsford, one of the largest elderly care campuses, is also preparing for staff shortages. CEO Karen Biggs is concerned that he could lose up to 6% of his 675 employees.
“I think the solution is to apply at least the same rules to the acute phase and the community, which reduces options and at least under a larger way to convince staff to vaccinate. It will be put in place, “Bigs said.
She says the question so far is how people can’t afford to lose their vaccine, so how can they be encouraged to get the vaccine.
Other care homes facing the same challenges
Mike Klassen of the BC Care Providers Association states that there are dozens of care homes across the state facing the same staffing challenges.
He says it is more urgent than ever for the state to change rules and require all health care workers to be vaccinated.
“I think we have to do more to better communicate the importance of vaccination. It’s safe and we also try to reduce the chances of people just picking it up and going elsewhere.” He said.
His association is calling on British Columbia health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the ministry to issue a public health order requiring new employees in acute care to be fully vaccinated.
“If we can change that, it will be less likely that someone will move from one job to the next because of hesitation in vaccination.”
In a statement sent to CBC News, the Ministry of Health said additional measures would be considered to help further protect people from the virus.
“Public health is currently considering the highest risk settings for health care, including settings for acute care and community health services, and assesses the need for compulsory vaccination of people working in those settings. “The statement said.
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