COVID-19: B.C. cancels some surgeries due to shortages caused by unvaccinated workers: minister
VICTORIA — B.C. hospitals are postponing some surgeries due to staffing shortages created by unvaccinated health-care workers who have been put on unpaid leave, says Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Dix said Monday that 3,325 health-care workers across the province have not been immunized against COVID-19 and are in violation of the government’s proof-of-vaccination policy, which took effect last month.
The staffing shortages will result in reductions of operating services in hospitals in the Interior and Fraser health authorities, while added demand for health care has forced surgery postponements in many other parts of the province, he told a news conference.
“Across B.C., the vast majority of our surgical rooms continue to run, but due to a variety of challenges there have been some reductions,” he said. “Kelowna General Hospital has reduced two operating rooms this week to compensate for staff who did not meet vaccination requirements who are on unpaid leave.”
Of the 3,225 health-care workers who have not been vaccinated, five per cent are in Interior Health and four per cent are in Northern Health, said Dix.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said officials have been speaking with health-care workers in one-on-one meetings about their vaccination concerns, but some remain adamantly opposed to the vaccines.
“Some people are quite dogmatic against vaccines, which is unfortunate,” she said.
Henry said vaccines are considered a lifesaver during pandemics.
“If people are in our health-care system and not recognizing the importance of vaccination, then this is probably not the right profession for them, to be frank,” she said.
Henry also announced people in B.C. who received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will soon be notified they are eligible to receive a booster shot within six months of their second vaccine.