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The general B.C. population over 12 years of age will receive their COVID-19 booster shots six to eight months after receiving their second dose, the province announced Tuesday. The province will start distributing boosters through a phased approach, which has already started this month and is expected to run until May. Priority will be based on the interval since someone received their second jab, their risk for contracting the virus, and their age. According to the province, higher-risk populations are “fully vaccinated populations experiencing breakthrough infections, which cause significant rates of hospitalization and poor outcomes. Largest high-risk populations are the 70+ and Indigenous Peoples.” The broader population can expect to start receiving invitations in mid-January.



B.C. has recorded 457 new cases of COVID0-19, and two more people have died, according to an update from provincial health officials Tuesday. One of the people who passed away lived in Fraser Health, which continues to lead the province in new infections with 176. The other death was in Northern Health, which saw 82 new cases. There were 83 cases in Interior Health, 61 in Vancouver Coastal, and 55 in Island Health. The province-wide immunization rate for eligible British Columbians continues to creep toward 85 per cent, with 84.5 per cent of people 12 and over having received both shots. The per cent of those eligible who have received one dose is 89.6. There are 390 people in the hospital, 155 of whom are in intensive care. From Oct. 11 to 24, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 76.2 per cent of hospitalizations. There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks, and the one at Evergreen Manor in White Rock has been declared over.



It’s been a long time since British Columbians got together and applauded frontline workers, and even longer since Canucks fans were allowed to root for their team in person. But at 7 p.m. Tuesday, an exuberant crowd of thousands cheered healthcare and hockey heroes at Rogers Arena. The first regular-season game in front of Vancouver fans in 595 days started with a doctor from B.C. Women & Children’s hospital leading the crown in the singing of “O Canada” The crowd of more than 18,000 was allowed because B.C.’s capacity limits for arenas in most of the province were lifted Monday. That was welcome news for players, who haven’t heard the roar of a hometown crowd in more than a year and a half. Ultimately, the team would lose 3-2, but the good news is, fans will only have to wait two days for another chance to see the team take the ice.



More than 4,000 health workers across B.C. could soon lose their jobs because they’ve refused to get vaccinated amid workplace mandates. This mandate came into effect Tuesday, Oct. 26, and those workers who refuse to get vaccinated are being placed on unpaid leave. Health Minister Adrian Dix insists this is necessary to keep everyone safe. The Interior Health accounts for the most health care workers not vaccinated with seven per cent. In Northern Health, five per cent are not vaccinated, three per cent in Island Health, and two per cent in Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal and provincial health services authority. “We’re also solemn today because we know the implications for people. And we know why this is a necessary step to protect people in our healthcare system,” Dix added. Meanwhile, 119,627 health care workers are fully vaccinated and 2,626 are partially vaccinated. Dr. Matthew Chow, with the Doctors of B.C.,  says he has concerns about some healthcare staff not getting the jab, but he is optimistic the mandate will lead to positive results.



Pope Francis will be making a trip to Canada in an effort to help with reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The planned visit follows the shocking discovery of unmarked graves at residential schools across the country. The Vatican says the Pope has indicated a “willingness” to assist with healing following the revelations of the Catholic church’s role in the Indian residential school system that resulted in the abuse and death of thousands of Indigenous children. A date for the visit has yet to be determined. The Vatican said in a brief statement on Wednesday that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has invited the pope to make an apostolic journey to Canada “also in the context of the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”



For the first time, a mother-daughter duo has been named two of Canada’s most powerful women in the WXN 2021 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award. Both residents of Surrey, Surrey Hospitals Foundation’s COO Azra Hussain and her daughter Hebah Hussaina have been given KPMG C-Suite Executives and RBC Future Launch Future Leaders awards, respectively. Azra is an accountant and fundraising executive who immigrated to Canada 22 years ago, and Hebah is the Surrey co-ordinator of the Science World Future Science Leaders program, TEDx speaker and founder of the Youth for Care non-profit organization. The Women’s Executive Network (WXN) recognizes women who “advocate for workforce diversity and inspire tomorrow’s leaders,” with this year’s list of award winners posted to