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COVID-19 vaccine rules vary for B.C.’s first responders

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While paramedics, and many fire and police departments are requiring double vaccination for staff, not all first responder agencies in B.C. are putting vaccine mandates in place – Oct 19, 2021

While vaccine mandates are now going into force for many first responders in British Columbia, one of the province’s largest police forces is lagging behind.

As health-care workers, all paramedics will need to be vaccinated by Oct. 26.

The chief of Vancouver Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) confirmed that firefighters in the city will have to be vaccinated.

Read more: City of Vancouver tells staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 6

“As of Dec. 6. 2021, the City will require all staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, this also being a requirement for VFRS employees,” Chief Karen Fry told Global News.

Vancouver police, however, do not fall under the vaccine mandate for city staff, and are not required to be vaccinated, at least not yet.

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“We are aware of the current climate and we are working on our policy,” the Vancouver Police Department said in a statement.

That policy is widely expected to include mandatory vaccinations, with an announcement possibly coming within days.

The new Surrey Police Service is still recruiting officers but all personnel working for that force will be required to be double-vaccinated.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for federal workers by end of October, Trudeau announces

“Anybody that would want to be hired by the Surrey Police Service, whether it’s a recruit that will ultimately go to the Justice Institute of B.C. to get trained or somebody from an experienced background, will have to be mandated to be vaccinated,” SPS Chief Const. Norm Lipinksi said.

RCMP officers, like most other federal public servants, must show they’ve been fully immunized by Oct. 29.

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