Honourable Adrian Dix, MLA
Minister of Health
Room 337, Parliament Buildings
March 22, 2021
Dear Minister Dix,
Over the past week, we have joined British Columbians in the collective relief in what the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout means for B.C. We know that vaccines are the key to getting us out of this pandemic and protecting B.C. residents during this time.
While the reaction to the vaccine rollout efforts has largely been positive and optimistic, we have noted growing concern around the list of essential workers that have been selected to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. We know that this vaccine has been set aside for high-risk essential workers and first responders, including police, teachers, and grocery store workers. However, in the past few days, we have heard from numerous groups of essential workers who feel they have been overlooked for this round of vaccinations.
The majority of workers we have heard from are in the transportation sector — transit drivers, Handy Dart operators, BC Ferries workers, taxi drivers, short-haul truckers and longshore workers. These groups have been on the frontlines for more than a year now, keeping our province moving, ensuring that British Columbians can get where they need to be and allowing trade to continue during this challenging time. By the nature of their work and at multiple locations, these groups come into contact with numerous people over the course of a shift, many of them with members of the public.
The transportation workers we have heard from are concerned that they face an increased risk for both contracting and transmitting COVID-19 and are looking for clarity around why they were not included in the group of essential workers who will begin receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in April.
As such, we are writing to encourage you to provide these workers with more clarity, including an explanation of why they were not included in the list of high-risk essential workers in this phase of the vaccine rollout.
We look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.
Official Opposition Critic for Transportation, Infrastructure and TransLink
Official Opposition Critic for Health
MLA, Kelowna Mission
CC: Hon. John Horgan, Premier
Hon. Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Shirley Bond, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition