British Columbia’s Health Minister Adrian Dix recently revealed that the province is experiencing a shortage of fully vaccinated health workers to man medical facilities in some areas of the region, particularly in Keremeos and Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital.
Dix disclosed in a press conference that there are still 5% of the total medical professionals in Interior Health—amounting to 1,018 individuals—who are still unvaccinated. These health workers were already placed on unpaid leave ever since the province’s vaccine mandate took effect on October 26.
Remarkably, because of the lack of health workers helping oversee the operations of medical facilities in some areas of the province, Dix pointed out that this has led to the postponement of surgeries and adjustment of hours. Moreover, he stressed that Fraser Health is also going through staffing issues resulting in a “very small number” of surgery postponements.
“There are pockets of communities and places where vaccination rates are just too low,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry pointed out. “This is something I’ve been very concerned about,” she added. Henry explained that some people are “quite dogmatically against vaccination, which is unfortunate.”
While the BC Interior is struggling with the lack of vaccinated health personnel, Henry doubled down on the province’s decision to suspend unvaccinated health workers. She pointed out that it is the “right move” to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in clinics and hospitals.