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B.C.’s top doctor urges people to talk about vaccination ahead of holiday gatherings

Click to play video: 'B.C.’s top doctor urges people to talk about vaccination ahead of holiday gatherings' B.C.’s top doctor urges people to talk about vaccination ahead of holiday gatherings
With the holiday season ramping up, B.C.'s top doctor says it's time to have some tough conversations about who can attend family gatherings. Dr. Bonnie Henry says vaccination status is critical in these settings, especially with the Omicron variant creating new concerns about further spread of COVID-19. Richard Zussman reports. – Dec 1, 2021

British Columbia’s top doctor urged residents to talk to friends and family about COVID-19 vaccination ahead of planning holiday celebrations.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it’s important to stress the importance of using layers of protection — vaccination, masking, choosing the outside over the inside, keeping groups small — as we approach the second holiday season during the pandemic.

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Henry said people should hold holiday events where everyone in attendance is fully vaccinated, especially if seniors or immunocompromised people will be in attendance.

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Henry said it’s important to have open and honest conversations about vaccination status ahead of the holidays.

Read more: COVID-19: Doctors share advice on how to gather safely during the holidays

“Many people have recounted to me that it is sometimes challenging when you have family and friends who may or may not be vaccinated and you might not know,” she said.

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“What I encourage everybody to do is to have those conversations. It is important for people, especially at this time of the year, to continue to take these precautions to protect those who are most at risk.

“I think it is important for us to kindly have those conversations. For people who have chosen not to be vaccinated at this point, I encourage you to rethink that decision and to have those conversations about not putting others at risk if you do make that choice over this coming risky period.”

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Read more: Canadians optimistic about this year’s holidays, but still plan to take precautions: poll

There are currently no province-wide restrictions on indoor or outdoor personal gatherings, although some regional restrictions are in place.

In the Fraser East region, personal gatherings are not restricted if all those in attendance 12 years and older are fully vaccinated.

For people who are not fully vaccinated, private gatherings are limited to your household plus five visitors or one household if indoors, or 10 visitors if outside.

Outdoor personal gatherings at private residences are limited to your household plus up to 10 visitors, who must remain outside. Outdoor personal gatherings at private residences are limited to your household plus up to 10 visitors, who must stay outside.

In Northern Health, people who are not fully vaccinated can only gather with their own household. Gatherings everyone 12 and older is immunized are limited to the household plus up to five visitors or one other household. Attendees must wear a mask and maintain two metres of physical distance. Outdoor gatherings are limited to your household plus up to 25 people.

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