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Many frontline workers move up B.C.'s COVID-19 vaccine list, but bus drivers left behind

FILE: A bus is pictured in downtown Vancouver, Friday, November, 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Bus drivers were told in December they'd be part of Phase 2 in B.C. vaccine plan, but were bumped down the list

Bus drivers, lawyers, and ferry workers are among the groups not included in B.C.'s next priority vaccine list

B.C. announced on Thursday frontline and vulnerable workers would be prioritized for next round of vaccinations

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Teachers, firefighters, and postal workers will be getting vaccinated against COVID-19 next in B.C., but bus drivers, lawyers, and ferry workers are noticeably absent from that priority group.

In December, the union representing Metro Vancouver bus operators were told they’d be part of Phase 2 in the province’s vaccine rollout plan. But that was December, and the plan has been updated at least twice since.

In January, the province announced that it was putting more of a focus on age when it came to when people would be inoculated. That bumped bus drivers out of the second phase.

Then, on Thursday, March 18, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced hundreds of thousands of frontline workers would be given priority for the next month’s vaccines.

About 320,000 people are among the frontline and vulnerable workers who have been moved up the list to receive the AstraZeneca shot.

They include first responders (police, firefighters, emergency transport), K-12 educational staff, child care staff, grocery store workers, postal workers, bylaw and quarantine officers, manufacturing workers, wholesale/warehousing employees, staff living in congregate housing at places such as ski hills, correctional facilities staff, and cross-border transport staff.

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Nowhere in that list are bus drivers included, and it’s not clear if they are to be considered as part of any of these groups.

Teachers have expressed a huge relief, and people in staff housing in Whistler and Big White will be able to breathe easier as well.

But some have taken to Twitter to question where bus drivers fit into the priority list, one person noting “They are more in contact with the public (and in confined space) than some other workers on the priority list.”

Unifor Local 111 has not yet issued a statement on B.C.’s latest update to the vaccine rollout plan. NEWS 1130 has reached out for comment.