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Op/Ed – BCGEU encourages vaccination, re-issuing of single-site and mask orders

Burnaby (Coast Salish Territories) – Following Thursday’s provincial government announcement regarding vaccines for health care workers, the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) encourages all British Columbians to get vaccinated.

“Vaccinations are an essential tool in combating the spread of COVID-19 and ending the pandemic in British Columbia,” said Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer. “Since the beginning of the vaccine roll-out, our union has robustly encouraged members and the general public to get vaccinated against COVID-19. We also know we cannot effectively combat COVID-19 with vaccines alone, which is why we are calling on the government to re-institute single site restrictions for health care workers, and to re-introduce the mask mandate.”

While British Columbians continue to get vaccinated at high rates, many in our communities – children, immunocompromised individuals, and some of our elderly neighbours – are unable to directly benefit from vaccination. Additionally, vaccinated individuals are still able to shed the virus. Because of these factors, the importance of other prevention measures cannot be understated. These include the continuation of the single-site order for long-term care facilities and a strong indoor mask mandate.

Throughout the pandemic, the BCGEU has been a leading voice in support of vaccination and mask mandates to protect front-line workers and the general public. The union campaigned to implement the indoor mask mandate in fall of 2020, and advocated for fast and equitable distribution of vaccines to protect front-line workers earlier this year.

With the rapid spread of the delta variant in B.C. and elsewhere, it’s critical that our province takes the steps necessary to prevent the spread of the virus and protect our vulnerable neighbours and front-line workers.

The BCGEU represents more than 23,000 members in the health care sector, including 4,800 in long-term care and assisted living. The union is working to engage with members regarding vaccines in the workplace and will continue to support all those affected to navigate this change.

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