BC Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry announced yesterday (February 9, 2022) that she will issue a public health order next week requiring full COVID-19 vaccination for all regulated health professionals, including occupational therapists.
The new order will broaden a previous PHO order originally dated October 14, 2021, which mandated COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers working in acute, long-term, and community care health settings. The order can be found on the COVID page.
Dr. Henry indicated that the new order requires all regulated health professionals to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine by March 24, 2022. A second dose is required 28-35 days thereafter.
The College has not yet been provided with the proposed order and does not have specific information about what role is to be played by the College and other health regulatory colleges. After the order is released, the College will review it, consult with the Ministry of Health and other BC health regulators, and provide registrants with additional information.
Under the Public Health Act, the Provincial Health Officer has the authority to issue public health orders, including vaccination mandates, to protect the public.
The College recognizes that March 2021 signifies one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This past year has brought the principles of infection prevention and control to the forefront of providing safe, effective and ethical occupational therapy practice.
The new COTBC Practice Standard for Infection Prevention and Control was developed following the recommendation of the Patient Relations, Standards and Ethics Committee and in consultation with the Provincial Infection Control Network of British Columbia. While we acknowledge registrants are already immersed in this work, please take a moment to review the new standard to ensure you are meeting practice expectations.