COVID-19 vaccine news for BC food processors and manufacturersLisa Thibault
Last updated: 30 Jun 2021
B.C. is accelerating second-dose appointments for all eligible people due to increased supply. If any of your employees still need the first dose, they may attend a drop-in clinic. Check this page for drop-in clinic dates and locations in your health region.
Ensure that any of your staff who have not already received two doses of the vaccine are registered on the provincial Get Vaccinated website.
Registering for the second dose
All health regions are currently recommending that employers encourage employees to register on the provincial Get Vaccinated platform to ensure they don’t miss their earliest opportunity for a second dose. Everyone who registers this way will receive an individual notification when it’s time to book their second dose.
For employers whose staff took part in priority AstraZeneca vaccine clinics before March 30:
- June 15 was the final day of the Vancouver Coastal Health second-dose clinics for employers whose staff participated in the March priority AstraZeneca clinics. If you were part of that program and do not have the June 15 memo with the latest details on the second dose, please contact us for a copy.
- Interior Health will be reaching out directly in the coming weeks to coordinate the second dose with employers who were part of their March priority vaccine program. Vancouver Island Health has already done so. Northern Health will likely do the same; we will confirm as we learn more.
- Fraser Health will be contacting some employers directly to arrange delivery of the second dose. For the remainder of employers in this group, they are working to ensure that employees can access the second dose through the provincial booking system.
For your employees who received a first dose of Pfizer or Moderna:
- They will receive a booking notification from the provincial system when they are eligible for their first dose.
For your employees who received a first dose of AstraZeneca through a pharmacy:
- They will have a choice of vaccine for the second dose—either AstraZeneca through the pharmacy where they received the first dose, or an mRNA vaccine through the provincial system.
Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Test Kits
Your worksite may be eligible to participate in the provincial program for COVID-19 rapid testing through point of care test kits.
Point-of-care (POC) test kits can be used to screen for COVID-19 in people without symptoms. POC tests are rapid and provide results at the point of testing usually within 15 to 20 minutes.
The province is supporting selected businesses to roll out rapid testing programs, including offering the actual testing materials for free, as well as supporting businesses with initial training. These tests may be performed with self-collection under the supervision of a trained individual, so participation would not have to entail hiring health professionals.
This may enable you to detect cases more rapidly and reduce the risk of infection for other staff. Particularly in workplaces where maintaining full physical distance is difficult, this may be able to reduce the likelihood of future outbreaks.
Moving forward, although are optimistic that vaccination will substantially slow ongoing transmission of COVID-19, we anticipate that we may see resurgences over the next year, particularly in high-contact environments.
Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health in particular would like to provide this additional tool for your business, knowing your crucial role in our communities. Access may be available to employers outside those health regions as well.
Interested? Email [email protected] for an intake assessment.
Interior Health updates: https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/covid-19-vaccines/
- Jun 30: Second-dose vaccination schedule has been accelerated due to extra supply.
- Jun 11: Additional updates on second-dose clinics from VCH for employees who received AZ in March; contact us if you need the updated June 11 memo
- Jun 10: Fraser Health second-dose details announced (above) for employees who received AstraZeneca in March; updated VCH second-dose AstraZeneca clinic details released today for employees who received AZ in March; contact us if you need the updated memo
- Jun 8: VCH memos now available with details for second-dose clinics; contact us if you need one
- Jun 3: VCH schedules June 7, 2 p.m., sector Zoom meeting for employers whose teams participated in the March priority AstraZeneca vaccine clinics. If you were in this group, watch for an invitation from VCH
- May 27: Time between doses reduced to 8 weeks for most people
- May 21: Second dose information for businesses whose staff received the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine
- May 17: All health regions: the provincial Get Vaccinated website is now sending first-dose booking invitations to people 18+. Encourage employees to register online.
- May 10: Update from Interior Health (see below)
- May 8: Update from VIHA (see below)
- May 5: New eligibility announcement for VCH and FH employers; see top of page
- April 30: Directions regarding registering for the second dose (see above)
- April 27: Fraser Health opens up AstraZeneca drop-in clinics to people aged 30+ in COVID-19 hotspot neighbourhoods
- April 22: News page and workplace resources for companies in Interior Health
- April 22: Update from Fraser Health Medical Health Officer (below)
- April 20: Medical Health Officer’s COVID-19 Update for Island Health (below)
- April 19: AstraZeneca now available to anyone 40+ through participating pharmacies or through the high-transmission neighbourhood program
- April 1: Updated COVID-19 Immunization FAQ for employers in the VCH region
- March 31: Anyone aged 55–65 can make an appointment to get the AstraZeneca vaccine at one of more than 150 participating community pharmacies.
- March 31: New FAQ from BCCDC on the AstraZeneca/SII (COVISHIELD) vaccine
- March 30: Learn more about how B.C. will monitor vaccine uptake, safety and effectiveness (BCCDC)
Although the vaccine rollout is moving faster now, it is still important to remain vigilant—even if your workplace has already had the opportunity to attend a vaccine clinic.
- Regularly review your COVID-19 Safety Plan with this checklist. Note that a revised COVID-19 Safety Plan will be required before the next phase of the BC Restart Plan. The province is currently consulting with industry to shape the requirements for the next phase of Safety Plan. We will share more information as those new requirements are defined.
- Check back for new COVID-19 resources
- Request help from one of our safety advisors to review your COVID-19 Safety Plan
Vaccination policy and claims
Discuss the importance of immunization with your staff. You can work together to build community immunity. By choosing to be immunized, your workers can protect themselves and each other—and by extension, those around them. The response to the immunization program so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We are looking forward, along with you, to life on the other side of the pandemic restrictions for all of us and a strong recovery for BC businesses.
- Review the current WorkSafeBC policy.
- Watch our April webinar with Fasken’s Norm Keith: Employment Law Q&A: Vaccines, People, and Policy.
- Watch our February webinar with WorkSafeBC, BCCDC, and Overholt Law’s Preston Parsons: COVID-19 Vaccine: Prevention, Enforcement, and Labour Law
- Watch our April 21 public health and vaccination town hall with VCH Medical Health Officer Dr. Michael Schwandt and our May 27 government and industry town hall on the road ahead for BC business in the recovery.
Priority workplace vaccine clinics
In March, more than 20,000 essential workers at Alliance member companies have received their first immunizations. We were pleased to partner with several health regions to support priority immunization for high-risk food processors and manufacturers with the supply designated for distribution in March.
When the first doses of the AstraZeneca/SII (COVISHIELD) vaccines arrived in March, the health authorities identified began their outreach with farms, food processors (prioritizing larger processors and particularly meat, seafood, and poultry), and some manufacturing and hospitality or retail worksites with outbreaks or clusters. The makeup of the priority lists was based on the number, type, and size of high-risk locations in each health region.
That initial priority worker campaign ended at the end of March.
A second campaign in April offered priority access to all manufacturers and food processors in the province. Thousands more employers were able to take advantage of that early access to the first dose.
- Those who have a serious allergy to polyethylene glycol (PEG)
- A previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to any part of the vaccine