Failure to comply with an order would be considered an offense under BC’s Public Health Act
B.C.’s provincial health official issued a public health order Monday requiring schools across the province to provide proof of vaccination status for their teachers.
The order applies to all employees of BC’s public, independent and francophone schools, and includes sharing how many doses of vaccine an employee has received and when they were vaccinated.
Dr Bonnie Henry wrote in her order, “An employer must request proof of vaccination from each staff member and keep a record of each staff member’s vaccination status.”
That information must be kept in a way that does not reveal the identity of an individual. In case of outbreaks or risks, schools are now required to act as if staff who have not provided proof of vaccination have not been vaccinated.
The BC Teachers Federation (BCTF), which represents 45,000 teachers across the province, responded swiftly to the new order, saying in a tweet that it was not consulted or notified that the order came prematurely. Had been.
“This is confusing because we have already agreed with (the BC Public School Employers Association) a vaccine mandate process and want districts to implement it,” the BCTF wrote.
BCTF President Terry Mooring told Glacier Media, “We would have had a lot rather it would have been a provincial vaccine mandate.” “What it does, it creates much more questions than answers.”
Mooring says it is unclear whether medical health officials will be able to implement the vaccination mandate under the order or whether the measures will be implemented at the regional level.
The order, which traces BC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said communities with low vaccination rates have seen more cases of serious illness and hospitalizations, including intensive care unit visits.
“Those who have been vaccinated may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but the severity of the disease is less than those without vaccination, especially in the younger population,” the order said.
“Vaccinated individuals who contract COVID-19 can transmit SARS-CoV-2, but are generally contagious for a shorter period of time, are less symptomatic, and have SARS than unvaccinated individuals. -CoV-2 is less likely to be transmitted.
The situation, adds Henry to his sequence, has gotten worse over time, first with the advent of the Delta version and now with O’Microon. BC’s health care system is spending a disproportionate amount of its resources on unvaccinated patients, with hospitals “stretched over capacity” mainly due to illiterate people.
Last week, Henry pointed to B.C. Centers for Disease Control data that found the share of unvaccinated people in all hospitals between December 11 and January 12 was 47 percent — a period roughly equal to the rise of the Omicron variant in B.C. was equal.
Despite the nearly 50-50 split, people who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine account for more than 82 percent of BC residents — meaning they end up hospitalized at a much lower rate than uninsured I am descending.
The data showed that those without vaccination were 12 times more likely to land in the hospital and 27 times more likely to end up in the ICU.
Around 350,000 BCE children between the ages of five and 11 are still waiting for a second dose of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine, with Henry’s order stating that they are at greater risk than some other demographics.
Mooring said it is not surprising that Henry’s order says “there is an urgent and urgent need to focus on reducing the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in schools.”
“Omicron is so much more permeable,” Mooring said. “As more people get sick, we’re really concerned that there are going to be more functional closures.”
Mooring says there is a disproportionate number of occupational health claims related to COVID-19 among primary teachers. But data is hard to come by elsewhere and functional closures are not currently reported by health officials.
At the same time, Henry’s message that schools are at risk of becoming hotbeds of transmission refutes his claims throughout the pandemic, Mooring said, adding that many of the justifications for the latest order are all along the BCTF’s call.
“There has been real resistance to anything but minimal with safeguards,” she said.
Mooring says progress has been lacking in ensuring teachers have priority for booster vaccines and access to N95 masks. While the province has done a “good job” matching the status of ventilation systems across the province, ensuring that every school and classroom is ventilated with a good HEPA filter, Mooring said.
The BCTG president said there is an urgent need to launch targeted education campaigns about the wearing of masks and vaccinations for children and families – especially in the interior and north, where vaccination among young children has lagged behind.
More concerning, she said, the province and its health officials have failed to keep up with the latest research on COVID-19 and its spread through aerosol transmission. For example, at Vancouver Coastal Health, guidance sent to at least some parents last week states that “there is no evidence that ventilation systems, in good operating condition, can prevent the spread of the virus in BC schools.” making a significant contribution to the
“As a result,” it continued, “portable air cleaners (such as HEPA) are no longer required under provincial public health communicable disease guidance for K-12 schools.”
This prompted many prominent scientists in aerosol transmission to call British Columbia social media Over the weekend for “some of the worst practices around the world in the mitigation of COVID-19 transmission…”
Mooring added his voice to those international critics: “It doesn’t seem to align with what’s happening in other jurisdictions, and what the science says.”
On Monday, Henry’s order acknowledged COVID-19 among school staff members “could contribute to clusters of infection and isolate large numbers of children identified as close contacts. ” This, in turn, will prevent them from participating in school and other social activities, adversely affecting their well-being.
“Non-vaccinated staff members pose a health risk to students and other staff members because they can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others,” Henry wrote.
By reporting the vaccination status of school staff members, the order says school administrators will be able to reduce risk and respond to school exposures, cases, clusters and outbreaks.
The order said that “there are various options for establishing vaccine status, including in paper and online formats.”
Henry said he had information to believe that the Omicron variant was increasing the number of infections throughout BC, and that the lack of information provided to school boards and administrators of independent and francophone schools was “SARS”. Interferes with suppression of -CoV-2. ,
He said there is an “urgent and urgent need” to focus action on schools in some health areas across the province.
Failure to comply with the order would be considered an offense under BC’s Public Health Act.
The order has no expiration date and Henry can adjust it exactly as she sees fit. BC’s Top Doctor is set to have media availability on Tuesday, January 18.