Hospitality staff in the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region are among those who are now eligible to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The health authority announced May 6 that it would be expanding its vaccine rollout for priority front-line workers aged 18 or older through the Provincial Vaccination Program. Among those now designated as front-line and essential workers are "employees at identified at-risk businesses," educational staff working with students in Kindergarten through to Grade 12, first responders, child-care providers and grocery store workers.
In an emailed update sent to members on Thursday, the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) said it had received confirmation that hospitality staff in the VCH region are included in this group and may now book an appointment to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine "regardless of age." This eligibility has been extended to workers in Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Richmond, the association added.
"The clinics are starting this weekend - so that even means that there are doses available to get this done right away," the update read.
Since March, VCH's vaccine rollout has prioritized employees at restaurants and foodservice establishments that have experienced cases and clusters of COVID-19.
Now, "With the majority of frontline workers now invited for first-dose vaccinations, including first responders, K-12 educational staff, child-care staff and grocery store workers, VCH is resuming its frontline worker program to include frontline workers ages 18+ in industries where full use of personal protective equipment and barriers can be challenging, where outbreaks and clusters have occurred, and where workers live or work in congregate settings," a spokesperson for the health authority explained, when asked to confirm whether all hospitality workers within VCH are now considered eligible for a vaccine.
Worksites identified as being part of this newly eligible group will receive information directly from VCH, including details about online registration and how to book a vaccine appointment. Employers are then responsible for distributing this information to eligible employees.
Vancouverites aged 46 or older invited to book COVID-19 vaccine appointment
Early Friday evening, VCH announced people aged 46 and older will be invited to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, beginning at 7 p.m. People aged 43 and up will receive these invitations on May 9, while the next round of invitations will go out to people aged 40 and up beginning May 11.
This update comes on the same day that VCH announced people 30 and over living in eight recently announced high-transmission areas in Vancouver will be targeted to receive their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Earlier this week, provincial health officials also announced pregnant people over the age of 16 are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a “priority population” in B.C.
"We have reviewed the data here in B.C. and this shows pregnant people experience severe illness from COVID-19 at a rate that is similar to people who are in their 50s," explained B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. "By prioritizing pregnant people today, we add another layer of protection for them, their babies and their communities."
- With files from Cameron Thompson and Colin Dacre