Work camp for Site C dam project near Fort St. John houses up to 2,000 workers, and features a movie theatre, licensed lounge, hairdresser, running track and basketball court. (B.C. Hydro)

Work camp for Site C dam project near Fort St. John houses up to 2,000 workers, and features a movie theatre, licensed lounge, hairdresser, running track and basketball court. (B.C. Hydro)

B.C. farms, food processing, industrial camps get COVID-19 vaccine priority

AstraZeneca vaccine arrives in B.C. for outbreak control use

Industrial camps, food processing plants, farms, nurseries and greenhouses with large shared work spaces or worker accommodations, are among the priority groups for the latest COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in B.C.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that B.C.’s initial shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine will be allocated to front-line workers and industries in parallel with the community vaccination effort underway Monday with seniors aged 85 and older.

The fridge-stable AstraZeneca vaccine “will be used to protect workers in industries where full use of personal protective equipment and barriers can be challenging, outbreaks or clusters have occurred or are ongoing, and workers must live or work in congregate settings,” Dix and Henry said in a statement March 15. “Immunizing workers in these settings will not only protect workers, it will also protect the communities around them, including many rural, remote and Indigenous communities.”

WorkSafeBC has been inspecting sites that have been shown to be susceptible to outbreaks, including the LNG Canada and Site C dam project, as well as poultry, fruit and fish processing plants where working closely together is unavoidable. Henry has issued public health orders for work camps, and is working with the national advisory committee on immunization to add other work places to the priority list as more AstraZeneca vaccine becomes available.

RELATED: First mass vaccination clinic begins work in Prince Rupert

RELATED: Northern B.C. gold mine deals with work camp outbreak


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