Surgeries Postponed As 4,000 Healthcare Workers In BC, Canada Remain Unvaccinated

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In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • More than 4,000 health-care workers in British Columbia, Canada, that have not received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, were placed on unpaid leave last Tuesday.

    • They have until Nov. 15 to get their first dose or they will be fired.

  • Reflect On:
    • Should we be firing so many healthcare workers in a time where they are needed the most?

    • Why should a naturally immune worker, or a person who isn't sick and tests negative for COVID not be allowed to serve the public?

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4,000 healthcare workers in British Columbia, Canada will be placed on unpaid leave as a result of being unvaccinated. This is despite that fact they have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and before, when the healthcare system was still extremely overwhelmed. These 4,000 have until November 15th to get their first does. If they still refuse, they will be fired.

As a result, the Vancouver Sun is reporting that surgeries are being postponed and access to diagnostic tests at B.C. hospitals and clinics is being reduced because of the loss of health-care workers who have not been vaccinated.

Kane Tse, president of the Health Sciences Association which represents 22,000 physiotherapists, counsellors and medical technicians in B.C, is worried about the effect of having fewer workers in the system. The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said some staff of larger health authorities may be sent temporarily to fill positions in places that have less workers to fill vacancies.

“We have long been concerned about increasing workload and strain for health-care employees, and this situation has become unsustainable due to the pandemic. We are urging the government to move quickly and decisively to support the people who care for us with action to address increasing shortages and severe burnout.”

Kane Tse. Vancouver Sun.

According to the B.C. Nurses Union, although they strongly encourage vaccination and the implementation of safety measures, those who are unvaccinated still represent a significant amount of workers across the province, and mandating vaccination “forces members to leave, further exacerbating a staffing shortage that is increasingly unmanageable.” 4,000 employees is a significant number, despite the fact that they are in the minority when it comes to healthcare workers who choose not to be vaccinated.

The Union stated the following on September 15th,

“This reality can pose desperate staffing challenges in worksite where staffing is already stretched extremely thin […] There is potential for a significant number of health-care workers to be removed from an already depleted workforce. Taking nurses away from the bedside will have serious impacts on patient care. […] We continue to be open to discussing any and all ideas the government and health authorities may have to develop both interim and long-term solutions to the implications a mandatory vaccination strategy could have on staffing levels.”

A shortage of healthcare workers, as a result of vaccine mandates, has been a concern around the world. To solve this, companies like Spectrum Health, a provider and network of hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Southwest and West Michigan, is allowing healthcare workers who have acquired natural immunity to continue to work.

In the case of Spectrum Health, science is being acknowledged as there is a plethora of it outlining the power and strength of natural immunity. In fact, much of the science shows natural protection going beyond the protection vaccines can provide.

In New York state there are approximately 70,000 healthcare workers that are not vaccinated, which represents 16% of the total amount of healthcare workers. All of these people are set to lose their jobs unless they get fully vaccinated.

In September 2021, Kingston’s research and teaching hospital in Ontario, Canada placed 136 employees on a two-week, unpaid leave for failing to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, New York announced that it will stop delivering babies after September 24th due to the fact that too many maternity unit workers have resigned over COVID vaccine mandates. 27 percent of healthcare workers at that hospital, as of mid September, were unvaccinated.

Vaccine hesitancy was observed among healthcare workers prior to the announcement of mandates. In January, Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi, the chief clinical officer at Chicago’s Loretto Hospital, said that a survey was administered there to healthcare workers in December regarding who would get the COVID-19 vaccine and who wouldn’t. The survey found that 40 percent of the hospital staff said they would not get vaccinated and 60 percent said they would.

Riverside County, California has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county were refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they had top priority and access to it. 

At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials. This news emerged in January, but with mandates things may have changed as some of these people may have shifted their decision in order to keep their job.

There are also organizations like The Great Barrington Declaration, and the Canadian COVID Care Alliance that represent thousands of doctors, scientists and other academics who are also opposed to vaccine mandates. These organizations advocate for a more focused protection plan, one that protects those who are at risk and vulnerable from a COVID infection.

Still, most of the general public is unaware of these organizations and their professional perspectives due to the fact that they get no mainstream media coverage.

Should we really be firing healthcare workers during a pandemic, even if they’ve acquired natural immunity and/or are not sick and have tested negative?

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