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As of today, healthcare workers in British Columbia who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 have been placed on leave without pay.
If they don't get their first shot by Nov. 15, their employment will be terminated without any kind of severance.
With the new mandate taking effect today, a number of Kelowna nurses took to the pedestrian overpass over Harvey Avenue to protest the decision.
“Healthcare is failing so badly and we can’t afford to lose one nurse," said Barb Elliot, who has been an LPN for around 18 years.
"Now we’re going to lose a whole bunch more and it’s just breaking the whole system and it's very unfair."
Another nurse mentioned that she will be on leave of absence today unless she takes the vaccine.
“I myself have worked for just about 23 years and I’m jobless,” explained Wendy Andreesen, registered nurse.
Families, students and members of different professions joined the rally and shared their opinions, to show their support for BC healthcare workers.
In the province's weekly COVID-19 briefing this afternoon, Health Minister Adrian Dix called it a "significant and solemn day."
While he recognized the difficulties this places on people and their families, he noted that the vaccine mandate is "an absolute necessity" for the healthcare system.