The mandatory COVID vaccination order for all healthcare workers isn’t sitting well with the BC Nurses Union.

On Monday, the province announced that both shots must be administered by Oct. 26th, and will include residents, students, doctors, contractors, and volunteers at the institutions.

In a statement, the BCNU said it has “very significant concerns regarding today’s announcement of the extension of the Residential Care Staff COVID-19 Preventive Measures Order to all health care workers, effective Oct. 26th.”

Staffing is the driving factor behind the BCNU’s opposition.

The union said that while it strongly encourages nurses, other health care workers, and all members of the public to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and other communicable diseases as a preventive personal and public health measure in accordance with scientific evidence, “we cannot support any order which will serve to remove even a single nurse or other health care worker from the healthcare system at a time of severe crisis.”

“Nurses and other health care professionals are forced to deliver patient care in dire conditions all too often while battling two public health emergencies on the frontlines,” the statement said.

According to the BCNU, based on pre-pandemic projections, B.C. is on pace to be 24,000 nurses short by 2029.

“BCNU expects government and health employers to avoid any measures that may take nurses away from providing patient care,” the BCNU said. 

“All other options need to be considered, including potential redeployment to other health care settings where both patients’ and the workers’ safety is managed through other protections such as rapid testing and the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE).”