Updated: Answering your questions on mandatory vaccination and vaccine cards

September 16, 2021

BC doctors have reached out to us to help them understand requirements around mandatory vaccination. We have been in touch with key partners and stakeholders and developed a Q and A that we will be continuously updating. If you have questions that are not listed below, please send them to . We will respond and continually update this posting.

Which doctors must be vaccinated based on the PHO order?

Vaccine%20mandateThe Provincial Health Officer has issued an order that everyone working in health authority facilities must be vaccinated as of October 26, 2021.  The mandate applies to physicians who are working in health authority facilities/clinics or who have privileges at health authority facilities – it does not apply to physicians who provide care in their private offices. The PHO will review all requests for exemption to this order. As of October 12, 2021, all staff including physicians – who work in long-term-care homes and seniors’ assisted living facilities must be fully vaccinated. Doctors of BC advocated for mandatory vaccination of health care workers, as well as mandatory vaccination for those working in education and child care.

What do doctors working in a health authority facility do  to request a review for medical exemption?

A request for reconsideration of the PHO order on the basis of a medical contraindication must include a signed and dated statement from a medical practitioner, based upon a current assessment, stating that the health of the person would be seriously jeopardized if the person were to comply with the order. It must also include a signed and dated copy of each portion of the person’s health record relevant to this statement.  The request should then be sent to with the subject line “Request for Reconsideration about Preventive Measures in Facilities”.

Key resources:

Can doctors mandate their staff to get vaccinated?

If they work in a health authority facility, then staff must be vaccinated. If they operate in a private office, it depends on a number of different factors. A COVID-19 vaccination could theoretically be mandatory so long as such a policy is reasonable in the circumstances, both in its purpose and implementation, and includes an accommodation of those who cannot be vaccinated based on grounds protected under human rights legislation. We strongly suggest any physicians considering having a mandatory vaccination policy for their staff should seek their own legal advice.

Can doctors provide medical exemptions for vaccine cards?

No, there are no exemptions for people requiring vaccine cards to enter non-essential indoor public gatherings/events.

Can doctors refuse to treat unvaccinated patients, and send them elsewhere?

While Doctors of BC is sympathetic to the concerns of physicians who are seeing patients eligible for vaccination but decline the vaccine, physicians are professionals who must not discriminate on the basis of vaccination status. The College of Physicians and Surgeons has also weighed in on this issue outlining its perspective in the July/August issue of the College Connector.

Briefly the College article says:

  • The College advises it is reasonable to request that patients report their vaccine status to you, however, demanding proof of vaccination as a prerequisite to attend your office would be indefensible from an ethical point of view. 
  • The College states that once you are aware of your patients’ vaccine status, you can manage appointment times in a manner that does not compromise the health of other patients or your medical office staff. 

There are extra precautions that physicians can take with eligible but unvaccinated individuals, for example separating them from immunocompromised individuals, or booking them at the beginning or end of the day. As well, government provides PPE at no cost to ensure you and your staff remain safe.