B.C. reveals COVID-19 vaccine rates among province's health workers

The B.C. government has released its data on COVID-19 vaccination rates among the province's 18  health colleges.

The province says it's releasing the information so that residents can make an "informed decision" on whether or not they feel comfortable receiving treatment from various health workers.

The 18 colleges include the College of Physicians and Surgeons, College of Denturists, College of Chiropractors, and many more.

Each college is responsible for licensing and establishing standards of practice for its members, and is responsible for making sure that licensees are operating under those standards.

The College of Dieticians and the College of Physicians and Surgeons lead the pack on vaccination rates, with totals around 98 per cent being vaccinated or medically exempt, according to the province.

The lowest vaccine rates are found in the College of Naturopathic Physicians, with 69.2 per cent, and the College of Chiropractors at 78.1 per cent.

Despite a range in vaccination rates, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says she's impressed with the vaccine uptake rates among the province's different health colleges.

"I will say that I am very proud that all of these are very high rates of vaccinations," she said Tuesday.

"I think we can be reassured that, across the board, registered health professionals understand the value [of vaccinations]."

The province did not release the rate of vaccination for the College of Nurses and Midwives on Tuesday, saying that data was still being collected. Health Minister Adrian Dix says that most members of this college have been vaccinated, however, "to the tune of 99 per cent."

Dix noted that the College of Nurses and Midwives has about 63,000 members, while all 17 other colleges combined have about 67,000 members, leading to a delay in data collection from the large college.

The province plans to release data on the College of Nurses and Midwives, and the number of members in each college, at a later date.

The rate of vaccination per college in alphabetical order can be found below:

  • Chiropractors: 78.1 per cent
  • Dental Hygienists: 92.6 per cent
  • Dental Technicians: 90.7 per cent
  • Dentists: 95.9 per cent
  • Dental Assistants: 92.8 per cent
  • Denturists: 92.9 per cent
  • Dieticians: 98 per cent
  • Massage Therapists: 87.9 per cent
  • Naturopathic Physicians: 69.2 per cent
  • Occupational Therapists: 96.9 per cent
  • Opticians: 94.9 per cent
  • Optometrists: 96.0 per cent
  • Pharmacists: 96.7 per cent
  • Pharmacy Technicians: 96.8 per cent
  • Physical Therapists: 95.2 per cent
  • Physicians and Surgeons: 98.0 per cent
  • Psychologists: 96.1 per cent
  • Audiologists/Hearing Instrument Practitioners: 91.9 per cent
  • Speech Language Pathologists: 92.9 per cent
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists: 79.0 per cent

Henry said the province is working on ways to balance practitioner privacy while also giving patients enough information to make an informed decision.

COVID-19 BOOSTER DOSES

The health officer encouraged everyone to stay up to date with their vaccinations, whether that means receiving their first booster dose or second booster dose.

"If you had an Omicron infection in January or February, you are now at a point where you need to get that extra boost," said Henry.

Dix noted that about one million people have been invited to receive their first booster dose but have not yet received it.

He added that about 158,000 people have received their second booster dose, and that people over the age of 70 will be eligible to receive their second booster starting next week.

The second booster dose has been reserved for people who are elderly or extremely clinically vulnerable so far.

Henry says she suspects health orders will "never have to be put in again" but that the pandemic is still ongoing.

"We know that hospitalizations and infection rates have levelled out somewhat, but we are still in this pandemic and we know there are still strains on the health-care system," she said.

She encourages everyone to stay home if sick, wear a mask if in a crowded area or if you're indoors with others for a prolonged period of time, and to "take a step back from riskier activities" if you work with or frequently see elderly or vulnerable people.