Home Care Vaccination Update from SafeCare BC

March 29, 2021 | News, Home Care News, COVID-19

The vaccination of home care workers is well underway as part of the province’s Phase 2 COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and SafeCareBC has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and health authorities to make sure that as many of our members as possible are included.

Of those who filled out our survey in early March, over 45% have confirmed that their staff have been offered vaccinations, while 12% have not yet received any communication from their health authority (the remaining 43% remain unconfirmed). This is great progress, but we still have some way to go.

We have heard of some issues experienced during the vaccination rollout, including:
  • Some people reporting challenges getting appointments in the Oakanagan
  • Short-notice announcements of clinics in Vancouver Coastal Health
  • People waiting for follow-up calls on the Island after filling out the health authority’s survey.

We have raised these issues with the Ministry of Health and are actively working with them to mitigate any delays. In a number of cases we have already been successful in resolving these problems. We welcome your feedback on the progress and would like to ask you to continue to flag problems when they arise so that we can work to maximize the number of BC home care workers who are offered the vaccine. 

We have also heard from a number of members over the past few weeks asking other questions about COVID-19 and vaccination:

  • Vaccinations for new hires. The Ministry of Health has confirmed to us that new hires will be given the opportunity for vaccination, and can access appointments in the same way as other staff for the time being. This should become more straightforward once the new online booking system (expected 6 April) is launched).
  • Clients requesting that only vaccinated caregivers enter their home. We have raised the issue of requiring staff to report their vaccination status to their employer with the Ministry of Health, who are looking into this in further detail. We will update you when we hear more.
  • Staff moving from another province. Some members, especially in Northern and Interior Health, have asked whether new staff coming in from other provinces are required to isolate for 14 days before beginning work. We can confirm that there are no current interprovincial isolation requirements. This means as long as staff have not been working in a care home in another province, do not have any symptoms and haven’t been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days, they can begin work right away
Finally, there is an opportunity on Vancouver Island for people – both clinical and non-clinical – who want to support immunization clinics. Health professionals might take on a number of roles such as assessing patients, preparing vaccines and administering and documenting vaccinations. Non-clinical support may be needed, for example, in administrative tasks or spreading the word about who is currently eligible to get a vaccination and how to book. 
More information can be found here. We will share any information on any similar opportunities in other areas of the province if it becomes available.