We want to extend our thanks to all who were able to join the December 14th Webinar. We hope the information was helpful to you.
As you are likely aware, the first COVID-19 vaccines have reached BC. While we still have a long way to go, we are now entering the beginning of the end of this pandemic.
All information contained in this email is from public sources, and may be distributed to members or posted on your websites.
The targets the government has set include the K-12 sector in the second priority group, although some may have access to it earlier than that. You can see the government’s projected schedule here.
We heard a number of questions put forward to Dr. Gustafson around the actual vaccine and what we know about it. Below is some helpful information.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) released recommendations on key populations for early vaccination. This includes guidance on who will get COVID-19 vaccines first. The recommendations include:
- Residents and staff of congregate living settings that provide care for seniors such as long-term care homes
- Adults 70 years of age and older, beginning with adults 80 years of age and older, then decreasing the age limit by 5-year increments to age 70 years as supply becomes available
- Health care workers (including all those who work in health care settings and personal support workers whose work involves direct contact with patients)
- Adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences
For those with concerns regarding the vaccine, we can only address it by referring you to the BC government’s website (link is above). We have understood that, at this time, there is not any indication that this will be made mandatory.
Meanwhile, even for those who have received the vaccination, the PHO orders will remain in effect. We also know that until our sector has access to the vaccination, there will continue to be risk, and advise you to remain vigilant in keeping yourselves and others safe by maintaining physical distancing where possible and wearing a mask. Please report to your local and health and safety representatives in cases where safety plans are not being followed and enforced.
Please see the attached resources from our OH&S Rep, Brother Tom McKenna. They are approved for distribution to members and can be found on www.bcschools.cupe.ca .
Your dedication to students and each other has been well noted; we cannot applaud you enough for this. We need to keep up our safety measures, and ask our employers to update their safety plans as needed. We are now able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but only once the majority of the population have been vaccinated can we expect to see a significant reduction in the safety protocols and measures imposed by the Provincial Health Officer.
Chris Losito and Jeanne Marr