Flu Policy Amended: Mandatory Vaccinations for Health Care Workers No Longer Required

December 04, 2019
Agreement reached with HEABC includes promotion of flu prevention efforts consistent with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer

The BC Nurses' Union (BCNU) has succeeded in ensuring the professional judgement of nurses is respected through an agreement with Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC) to amend the mandatory flu vaccination policy.

The new agreement, reached through collaborative efforts with HEABC, will mean an end to the punitive nature of the previous policy and is consistent with the flu prevention efforts released by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer. BCNU is proud to be leading the way on this collaborative approach towards influenza prevention. Other health care unions, and the Doctors of BC are also being invited to support the policy.

BCNU will continue to work with the employer to encourage vaccination as a strategy to reduce flu transmission and promote the use of personal protective equipment when appropriate. The amendment to the influenza prevention policy ensures that nurses will no longer face discipline for not getting vaccinated or wearing a mask.

Vaccination is one effective way of protecting patients and health care workers. In the event of an influenza outbreak, the policy will be suspended at the outbreak location and the organizations' outbreak policies will apply.

The obligation to get immunized or wear a mask in patient care areas has been a contentious issue for BCNU and other health care unions since it was introduced in 2012. In 2015, BCNU filed an Industry Wide Application Dispute (IWAD) after health authorities refused to revoke their mandatory "vaccinate or mask" policy.

To review the Influenza Prevention Policy, please visit the Ministry of Health's website.

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