Dieticians most vaccinated health professionals in B.C. but no data on nurses: Minister

Health officials say data will be made available in coming weeks

B.C. health officials are still awaiting data on nurses' vaccination rates | Nesky Getty Images

Seventeen out of 18 professional colleges – the bodies responsible for licensing health professionals in B.C. – have disclosed the COVID-19 vaccination status of their practitioners, and dieticians have come out on top.

No personal data has been released to the public, but aggregate data shows the College of Dieticians has the highest vaccination rate in the province followed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons at 98 per cent.

B.C. health professionals, which include opticians and dentists, have an overall vaccination rate of 93.9 per cent but provincial officials did not provide data on nurses during a Tuesday briefing.

“This is because there are so many registrants,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

“It was a lot more challenging than we initially thought.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said he expects data to be released in the next few weeks.

While the province is reporting 93.9 per cent of health professionals have either been vaccinated with at least two doses or have received a medical exemption, Henry said she believes that figure “likely underestimates” vaccination rates owing to the fact the College of Nurses and Midwives makes up 46 per cent of the province’s health professionals.

Dix said repeatedly during Tuesday’s briefing that the vast majority of nurses are vaccinated.

Among the least vaccinated health professionals are naturopathic physicians (69.2 per cent), those specializing in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture (79 per cent) and chiropractors (78.1 per cent).

Meanwhile, fourth doses for the general population will not be deployed anytime soon, as Henry had previously indicated.

Ontario expanded eligibility for fourth doses last month to those 60 and older.

Instead, B.C. will be sticking to sending out invites to those 70 and older in the coming weeks.

“We’ve seen that there really is very good protection from three doses,” Henry said.

“As we get older, our immune systems … fade away a little bit more quickly, so that’s where we’re targeting this fourth dose.”

She added the protection from three doses is “good enough to get us through Omicron.”

torton@biv.com

@reporton