Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

COVID-19 vaccinations begin today for employees in Whistler Blackcomb Staff Housing

Part of B.C.'s move to immunize frontline workers in high-density living quarters
COVID-19 vaccinations for Whistler Blackcomb employees in staff housing began this week.

COVID-19 immunization has begun for employees in Whistler Blackcomb (WB) Staff Housing, part of the province's effort to protect frontline workers living in high-density housing, the company has confirmed. 

In a March 15 joint statement, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix said that the initial shipment of the AstraZeneca/SII (AZ/SII) vaccine will be used to “protect workers in industries where full use of personal protective equipment and barriers can be challenging, outbreaks and clusters have occurred or are ongoing, and workers must live or work in congregate settings.”

Given the shared living space of staff housing, coupled with the recent outbreak Whistler had been dealing with, WB workers would check at least two of those boxes.

"Late last week, VCH also informed us that they will be vaccinating community members living in staff housing and high-density shared housing, the segment of our community that has seen the highest COVID-19 transmission,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton during Tuesday’s council meeting. “This is extraordinarily good news for our community, and we are thankful for it.”

Between Jan. 1 and late February, Whistler recorded 702 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, with health officials noting the majority of transmission was occurring among young adults in household settings.

Although Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) had been providing weekly updates on Whistler-specific case numbers, last week was the first time since late January the health authority did not provide an update for the resort. The health authority’s most recent update for Whistler, on March 4, said the resort recorded 18 new cases between Feb. 22 and 28,  26 cases the week prior, and 56 the week before that.

Notably, VCH does not typically share numbers in small communities when the caseload falls under a certain threshold in order to protect medical privacy.

Meanwhile, the Howe Sound health region, which includes Whistler, Pemberton, Squamish, Lions Bay and parts of the southern Stl'atl'imx Nation, recorded 32 new cases of COVID-19 between Feb. 28 and March 6, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. The health region tallied 1,406 cases between Jan. 1, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021.

Health officials and WorkSafeBC have identified worksites with the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission, which include food processing plants, agricultural operations, large industrial camps, and “other large congregate living settings for workers where isolation and quarantine is difficult,” according to yesterday’s joint statement.

“Immunizing workers in these settings will not only protect workers, it will also protect the communities around them, including many rural, remote and Indigenous communities.”

Immunization for the wider Sea to Sky community began March 15, with seniors aged 80 and up and Indigenous people aged 65 and up the first groups eligible to receive the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines.

The vaccination clinics are located at the Whistler Conference Centre, Pemberton Community Centre and The 55 Activity Centre in Squamish. Vaccinations for eligible groups can be booked by calling 1-877-587-5767. The line is open daily between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.