Youth sports coaches in British Columbia will now need to be vaccinated, along with other adults involved in the delivery of youth programs.
Any adult supervising or assisting in youth programs should be fully immunized under an expanded public health policy on events and gatherings. The decree applies to all indoor or outdoor programs.
The province is expected to give more details next Tuesday (November 2), however, the change was quietly included in the October 25 public health order.
Activities include a range of structured programs ranging from education to music, art, drama, dance, recreation, sport, exercise or social activities for anyone under the age of 22.
British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday the order is intended to protect children who participate in organized programs.
“It’s not about enforcing or punishing anyone, it’s about ensuring the safety of the activity, and that’s why the provincial health officer made this decision.”
It is still unclear how the province will apply the vaccination mandate, as the province is not the employer in this case. Enforcement would likely fall to community centers and organizations, although many coaches in youth sports serve on a voluntary basis. It is also unclear how organizations will go about confirming immunization status.
As of October 28, 89.8% of eligible people aged 12 and over in British Columbia had received their first dose of the vaccine and 84.9% had received their second dose.
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