Paramedics union supports COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Paramedics union supports COVID-19 vaccine mandate

KAMLOOPS — The provincial health order earlier this week to have all healthcare workers vaccinated also applies to paramedics. Their union supports vaccinations but awaits more details on the mandatory policy.

As of October 26, all healthcare workers in B.C. will have to be immunized against COVID-19. Ambulance Paramedics and Dispatchers of B.C. (APDBC) says more than 90 per cent of paramedics have already been vaccinated and they’re not sure exactly how the new rules will affect their unvaccinated members.

“Any time we lose a paramedic in a time of crisis with staffing is not good,” APDBC’s Troy Clifford told CFJC Today. “But I would counter that with the argument that losing a paramedic because they have infected a patient or got infected themselves and can’t come to work would be way more detrimental to the system and the responses than the choice to not work.”

The union reiterates it is committed to helping members who have legitimate medical or religious reasons for not getting vaccinated but recognizes the choice to not be vaccinated may result in changes.

“I have to listen to the majority of my members and the majority of them support vaccinations and moving ahead,” added Clifford. “We’ll comply with the laws and do our best to make sure that members’ rights are upheld but, at the end of the day, if that becomes the direction of the Provincial Health Office — and we’re waiting on that order — then we’ll have to comply with that.”