COVID-19 vaccination rates are high for doctors, nurses and other independent B.C. health professionals, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported Tuesday.
The largest group, the 63,000-member College of Nurses and Midwives, has not yet reported final totals for having at least two doses of approved vaccines, but their preliminary results are near 99 per cent, compared to an average of 94 per cent across all professional groups, Dix told reporters at the B.C. legislature May 10.
Henry imposed a vaccine mandate on all hospital and senior home staff last year, with those who did not comply or get a medical exemption put on unpaid administrative leave. But independent professional colleges have legal authority over their members, and the public health order for them was to report vaccination status to their colleges.
Henry noted that while vaccination has protected B.C. residents and the health care system from severe coronavirus illness, its protection is reduced over time, as does immunity from previous infections. She urged people who have not yet had a third vaccination to obtain one, as the B.C. Centre for Disease Control continues to track newer variants.
“This virus is pernicious and it’s changeable,” Henry said. “We do not yet know if all of us will need another dose of vaccine come the fall, or if protection from the three doses will carry most of us through, and only some people will need another dose.”
The health ministry released percentages May 10 on members of each profession, with physicians, surgeons and dieticians having the highest rates:
• chiropractors: 78.1%
• dental hygienists: 92.6%
• dental technicians: 90.7%
• dentists: 95.9%
• dental assistants: 92.8%
• denturists: 92.9%
• dieticians: 98%
• massage therapists: 87.9%
• naturopathic physicians: 69.2%
• occupational therapists: 96.9%
• opticians: 94.9%
• optometrists: 96.0%
• pharmacists: 96.7%
• pharmacy technicians: 96.8%
• physical therapists: 95.2%
• physicians and surgeons: 98.0%
• psychologists: 96.1%
• audiologists/hearing instrument practitioners: 91.9%
• speech language pathologists: 92.9%
• traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists: 79.0%