The B.C. Education Ministry is immediately bringing together a committee to make a decision on COVID-19 vaccine mandates, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Tuesday.
During a press conference, Dix said the government knows there is a desire for a vaccine mandate in schools and Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside is currently compiling a group to make sure the issue of mandatory vaccines for teachers and school staff is addressed.
This follows an announcement that for those who are employed in long-term care homes in the province, Tuesday, Oct. 12 is the deadline that all workers must be fully vaccinated.
Provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday for anyone hired between Oct. 12 and 26 they must have a single dose of vaccine and be at least seven days post-vaccine to work and get their second dose within 35 days after their first dose in order to stay employed.
Anyone who is not fully vaccinated and works in long-term care, after Oct. 26 they will be off work without pay, Henry said.
Starting Oct. 12, visitors to long-term care facilities must show their proof of vaccination by showing their vaccination card, she added.
Starting Oct. 26, visitors to acute care settings must be fully immunized.
In addition, more people in B.C. will soon be receiving a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition, B.C. residents who are fully vaccinated but have a mix and match vaccine dose, for example, AstraZeneca followed by Moderna, Henry said the government is now working with Health Canada to have a single vaccine passport that is recognized worldwide.
She urged everyone to “be patient” and they are working to make sure mixed doses will be recognized for travel to all destinations.
On Monday, it was revealed there were 1,986 new cases of the virus reported in the province over the weekend.
An additional 10 people also died from complications related to COVID-19.
There were 617 cases from Friday to Saturday, 707 cases were reported from Saturday to Sunday, and 662 from Sunday to Monday.
The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 remained largely unchanged, declining by two to 326. Of those, 142 are in intensive care, an increase of four from Friday.
The number of active cases in the province dipped below 6,000 to 5,986.
However, the rising cases have forced the cancellation of 241 non-urgent scheduled surgeries to make room for COVID patients.