Vaccine plan must treat all B.C. seniors equally

Lee Coonfer.

Lee Coonfer.

BC Seniors Living Association (BCSLA) has called on the provincial government and the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) to ensure that all B.C.’s seniors are treated equally when it comes to determining the province’s roll out plans for the COVID-19 vaccine and while defining the priority eligibility for seniors.

BCSLA recognizes that the immediate priority ought to be those residents in Memory Care or Long-Term Care (LTC) communities whether they are publicly funded or privately operated.

However, as health authorities start to collect data for LTC residents and corresponding staff, as it appears has begun, there is concern that other areas of the seniors living continuum will be overlooked.

“There is no question that when it comes to providing the vaccine for seniors, that the most vulnerable need to be the priority,” said Lee Coonfer, BCSLA CEO.

“However, there needs to be the assurance and certainty for the remainder of the senior’s population in B.C. that they will be treated equally in that those seniors in a congregative living environment where staff come on site to provide care or services be treated the same and with the same priority, whether it is an assisted living or independent living community.”

BCSLA has been actively engaged with the government, collectively working towards solutions to the many challenges that the seniors population and seniors community operators have faced as a result of COVID-19.

This constructive and engaging approach has resulted in some very proactive and innovative programs and directives that help keep the seniors community safe during the pandemic. However, it hasn’t always meant that seniors living operators are all treated the same.

Compensation for personal protective equipment (PPE), pandemic pay and support to accommodate visitation restrictions have not always been made available to private operators of assisted living and long-term care communities.

In most cases, independent living (IL) sites are overlooked altogether.

For the purposes of the vaccine, it is imperative for the government to acknowledge that Independent Living (IL) operators represent seniors living in a congregative setting just as LTC and Assisted Living (AL) sites are.

The resident of IL sites may not be considered as physically vulnerable as those in LTC but they do live in very similar settings where there is a critical mass of residents at one site with communal areas.

In addition, much like an LTC community, there are staff providing services at IL communities who are coming on-site from off premises thereby heightening the exposure risk.

Placing all seniors living in a congregative setting into one category, whether publicly funded or private, an AL site or an IL site, treats seniors equally. It appears to be the approach that the Province of Ontario is taking and one BCSLA strongly supports and recommends.

“We cannot treat seniors that live in similar congregative settings differently simply because one site is government funded and the other site is a private operator. Nor can we treat a senior that resides in an assisted living community differently than the senior living in an independent living community,” Coonfer said.

“The challenges the residents and operators face are the same. The staff’s concern for the health and safety of their residents are the same. More importantly, the fears and concerns of the seniors living in either of these communities are the same and they all deserve the same treatment and attention when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine.”

About BC Seniors Living Association:

BC Seniors Living Association is a voluntary, membership-driven organization dedicated to being a valuable source for member development, education and growth. The organization works to promote and protect the best interests of its members in BC. The four cornerstones of BCSLA is actively advocating, educating, mediating and celebrating retirement communities and their residents. For more information, visit: www.bcsla.ca.

BC HealthSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Scamsters target Montrose resident. File photo
Fraudsters strike again in Montrose

A Montrose resident was taken for thousands in a COVID-related scam

(Black Press file photo)
Trail RCMP fine event organizer for flouting PHO order

Twenty-nine people attended an event at a place of worship in Trail

Violin Lake last fall. Photo: City of Trail
City of Trail applies for grant to decomission dams

Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation grant to restore Cambridge Creek and Violin Lk system

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

Most Read