A long-term care resident at Mountainview Lodge in Kitimat who got the COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination clinic held Thursday (Jan. 21). Northern Health photo

A long-term care resident at Mountainview Lodge in Kitimat who got the COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination clinic held Thursday (Jan. 21). Northern Health photo

Kitimat council to ask B.C. health authorities to drop healthcare worker vaccine mandate

Decision met with opposition in council

District of Kitimat council decided on Jan. 9 to write B.C.’s health leadership asking that the vaccine mandate for health care workers be ended.

Coun. Mario Feldhoff brought the motion to council and was met with mixed opinions from other councillors.

“The vaccine mandate ‘cure’ is now arguably a greater impediment to overall public health than COVID itself,” said Feldhoff.

He was met with opposing views from other councillors, most adamantly by Coun. Terry Marleau. He insisted on protecting vulnerable populations and questioned the message it might send to vaccinated healthcare workers and the population as a whole.

“I have to be very open, I don’t know if I’d want to be working with people who don’t believe in the science of our healthcare,” he said.

In his initial statement, Councillor Meldhoff said staff layoffs have contributed to the Kitimat Fire and Ambulance crews routinely being asked to provide cross coverage to neighbouring communities at an unsustainable level.

“Our staff are increasingly being stressed and, in turn, their extended absences from Kitimat strain the level of protection that is expected by our citizenry,” he said in a prepared statement.

Ultimately Mayor Phil Germuth sided with Feldhoff and stated the benefits of asking health authorities outweigh the risks to the public.

“All we are doing is asking. Our healthcare system is in dire straits,” Germuth said. “Would you rather have no care or care from someone who’d maybe be unvaccinated? That’s for the patient to decide.”

@samkonnert
sam.konnert@blackpress.ca

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