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BC Postpones Surgeries Due Staff Shortages

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British Columbia hospitals are postponing 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.

“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.”

Dix mentioned hospitals across the province that are facing staffing pressures,
including those in Kamloops, Abbotsford, North Vancouver, Richmond and New Westminster.

“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.

The B.C. government also introduced its final proof-of-vaccine policy Monday
for public service employees. It requires government workers to provide
proof-of-vaccine status by Nov. 22 or face being placed on unpaid leave for
three months and possible future termination.

The policy applies to any employee working in the public service, regardless of
whether they are working from home or remotely.

The government says in a statement that workers who have had one dose of a vaccine
may be offered alternative work arrangements and will be required to provide proof
of full vaccination within 35 days of having had their first dose.

01/11/21 Adapted Canadian Press