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General FAQs

For questions and answers in Chinese, Punjabi, Farsi and French, visit the BCCDC website.  

Changes to self-isolation guidance

Starting November 17, 2022, people who have COVID-19 are no longer required to self-isolate. However, it is still important for people with symptoms to stay home as much as possible to reduce any potential spread of illness until your symptoms have improved, and you are able to participate inyour usual activities. 

We are currently updating the information below to reflect the most recent guidance. Please see BCCDC COVID-19 for the full up-to-date information. 

BCCDC COVID-19 Information

Dose 1: Drop-ins are welcome for those aged 12 and older at all VCH clinics on a first-come, first-served depending on vaccine availability. See the vaccination clinic listings for updated dates and locations. 

Dose 2: Everyone who received dose 1 can register and book an appointment for dose 2 using the provincial Get Vaccinated system. Approximately 28 days after your first dose, you will get an invitation by text, email or phone call to book your second dose appointment. Clinic options will be provided at the time of booking.

Booster Dose: Everyone aged 18 and older who received dose 1 and 2, and who wants a booster, will receive an invitation to book a booster appointment about 6 months after their dose 2 vaccination. Pregnant people 18 years and older can get a booster dose 8 weeks after their second dose. You must make an appointment for a booster dose. 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found mostly in animals. In humans, they can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). The illness caused by this relatively new coronavirus has been named COVID-19.

For the latest on symptoms related to COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 symptoms page.

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, use the B.C. self-assessment tool to determine if you need to be tested.‎

Agencies such as the World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the BC Centre for Disease Control are continually evaluating the latest scientific evidence to determine how to best prevent and control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 is spread by the respiratory droplets an infected person produces when they breathe, cough, sneeze, talk, or sing. Droplets come in a wide range of sizes and they behave differently depending on their size. Larger droplets are heavier, and they usually fall to the ground within two meters. Smaller droplets, also known as aerosols, are lighter and they can float in the air for longer. Opening windows or increasing fresh air intake with mechanical ventilation can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

For tips on prevention, visit our COVID-19 prevention page.


VCH and the province of B.C. have been regularly sharing advice and tips on how people can protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19. Vaccines don't just protect the people getting vaccinated; they protect everyone around them too. The more people in a community who are vaccinated and therefore protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for it to spread. Other important measures include staying home if sick, washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, maintaining physical distance when possible in public settings and wearing a mask in indoor public places if you are not fully vaccinated. 

Visit our COVID-19 prevention page.


Please refer to the Province-wide restrictions page on the Government of B.C. website.

For more information, visit BC's Restart Plan.


If you think you may have COVID-19, visit our If you are sick page for more information. 

Visit our COVID-19 testing page to learn about testing. 

When you self-isolate, you stay home and keep away from others to help stop the spread of COVID-19. See details on guidance depending on vaccination status.



If you have received your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and.

  1. At least five days have passed since your symptoms started. Continue to follow all Public Health orders and guidance after leaving isolation. 

  2. Fever has resolved for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.  

  3. Symptoms have improved.

If you are under 18 years old, regardless of vaccination status, and:

  1. At least five days have passed since your symptoms started. Continue to follow all Public Health orders and guidance after leaving isolation. 

  2. Fever has resolved for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

  3. Symptoms have improved.

If you are aged 18 or older and are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated for COVID-19, and:

  1. At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started. Continue to follow all Public Health orders and guidance after leaving isolation.

  2. Fever has resolved for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

  3. Symptoms have improved.

The Provincial Health Officer has issued an order for all individuals, places of work, and businesses across the province. Please keep up to date with current orders by referring to the Government of B.C. website: Orders, notices, and guidance

For more healthy practices, visit our COVID-19 prevention page or the Sneezes and Diseases website.

Learn about BC's Restart: A plan to bring us back together

For a full listing of current provincial health officer orders, visit the Government of B.C. website: Orders, notices, and guidance.


If you had COVID-19 you should still get a primary series and booster as recommended once you have recovered. Your body naturally generates antibodies when you get COVID-19, but we do not know how long immunity lasts, or how many antibodies your body produces. This is why some people have had COVID-19 more than once, and why it is recommended you still get vaccinated.

People who are sick with COVID-19 must wait until they have recovered from acute illness before getting vaccinated.

 For more information, visit ImmunizeBC FAQs and common COVID-19 questions on BCCDC.


If you have concerns that a specific business is not following public health orders, or concerns about people not following provincial health orders for gatherings, you can contact your local municipality.


Your children may be worried about their family, friends and themselves. It is important to talk to your children about this disease and give them some reassurance. It may be difficult to know what to say or how much information to share. At the link are some resources that can help support you in your efforts to provide information about COVID-19 to your children.


There is a limited supply of Janssen vaccine in B.C. This is a single-dose vaccine; one dose qualifies the recipient as fully vaccinated under all Provincial Health Officer's orders that require vaccination, including for employment.

If this is the vaccine you want, please call 1-833-838-2323 and inform the agent that your preference is to receive the Janssen vaccine and you can be added to a waitlist for this vaccine.

Only the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have been authorized for use by Health Canada as booster doses. According to guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), a booster dose with a viral vector COVID-19 vaccine (AstraZeneca Vaxzevria or Janssen) should only be considered when other authorized COVID-19 vaccines are contraindicated or inaccessible. For more information, please see the Government of Canada website or this specific resource on vaccine doses in Canada.

For more information about the Janssen vaccine visit Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine on



All employers must follow enhanced protocols mandated by the Public Health and Safety Guidelines and WorkSafeBC. If for any reason you are concerned about the safety of yourself or your colleagues at your workplace, contact WorkSafeBC.

Do not go to work if you have cold, flu or COVID-like symptoms. For more healthy practices, visit our COVID-19 Prevention page or the Sneezes and Diseases website. For information on the latest testing guidelines, please visit our COVID-19 testing page and also learn what to do if you are sick.

Public exposures

Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19. Vaccines don't just protect the people getting vaccinated; they protect everyone around them too. Getting immunized, staying home when sick.

If you have cold, flu or COVID-like symptoms, learn what to do if you are sick

For more healthy practices, visit our COVID-19 prevention page or the Sneezes and Diseases website. For information on the latest testing guidelines, please visit our COVID-19 testing page.



Keeping our patients, staff and visitors safe continues to be our top priority, which is why infection prevention and control standards are in place at all of our sites. Do not delay seeking treatment for medical conditions, especially those requiring urgent and emergency care. 

To visit any of our acute care facilities, visitors need to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status. When you arrive, please have your BC Vaccine Card (or equivalent) and photo ID ready to show the greeter at the entrance.   

This vaccination requirement doesn't apply to:

  • Visitors with an approved medical exemption.

  • Children under the age of 12.

  • The following care settings:

    • Visits to the emergency department and intensive care unit

    • Visits for compassionate care including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end-of-life and medical assistance in dying

    • Visits for pediatric care, labour and delivery (e.g., support persons)

    • Visits paramount to the patient's physical and mental well-being

    • Visits to support the patient's decision-making 

Up to two visitors may visit a patient at a time. Patients and visitors are encouraged to work in partnership with care providers to determine how best to coordinate visits (e.g., it may be best to avoid visits during shift change or patient rounds). Our health-care team may restrict visitation in the best interest of the patient/client. This may differ by hospital unit, clinic and/or patient. These precautions are in place in the interests of the safety of our most vulnerable patients and clients. If you have questions about visitation restrictions, please speak to the care providers on your unit/clinic or read the Ministry of Health - Overview of Visitors in Acute Care.


Long-term care & assisted living

Since the beginning of our COVID-19 vaccination campaign in December 2020, the frequency and severity of outbreaks in long-term care homes in our region has decreased dramatically, however, occasionally transmission does occur. The health and safety of residents and health care providers at long-term care homes remains an utmost priority as part of Vancouver Coastal Health’s COVID-19 response. We take critical steps to ensure the safety of patients, residents, staff and community with early identification of cases, prompt isolation, testing, monitoring, and execution of proper infection prevention and control practices. During an outbreak at a long-term care home, we make every effort to mitigate transmission of COVID-19. Outbreak measures can include enhanced cleaning, appropriate use of personal protective equipment by staff and other infection prevention and control precautions at the facility.


During an outbreak at a long-term care home, all residents are closely monitored and will be tested if they develop respiratory or gastrointestinal illness compatible with COVID-19.


Yes. There are no restrictions on removing a resident from long-term care to your home. There are restrictions on moving them to another facility, and there is a restriction on bringing the resident back into the facility they were removed from. Residents removed from the facility will not be able to re-enter until health authorities are certain there is no risk in doing so, which could be for an extended period.


We reduce the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 with measures including:

1. Enhanced cleaning: Increased cleaning frequency to high touch areas such as the side rails, tables and elevator buttons. This should reduce the risk of transmission of virus from objects.

2. Symptom Monitoring and Testing: To prevent transmission, staff and residents are carefully monitored for symptoms. Testing is provided where appropriate.

3. Isolation of Cases: To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we take all possible steps to keep residents who have COVID-19 in their rooms while they are recovering.

4. Physical Distancing: During an outbreak, group and social activities are reduced to decrease the risk of transmission.

5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): For staff and resident safety, staff will use PPE such as masks, gloves, and gowns.

6. Limiting staff to one location: Staff work at only one location. They are not moving between facilities.

7. Visitor Policy:  Provincial guidelines for visitation in long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living residences require each facility to develop written safety plans.

When there have been no new cases for two incubation periods we can declare an outbreak over. COVID-19 has an incubation period of 14 days, so 28 days must pass with no new cases to declare an outbreak over.


‎If you have questions about COVID-19, please contact 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or text 604-630-0300 from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. At a long-term care home, the Director of Care is the main contact for families.

In response to COVID-19, the Ministry of Health has created flexibility in the policy on Temporary Absences from Long Term Care (LTC). This change allows residents to leave their LTC home for a maximum of 90 days in a calendar year.

Additional information about temporary absences from long-term care during COVID-19:

Recognizing that long-term care (LTC) and seniors’ assisted living (AL) residences are home to some of our most vulnerable citizens who are at risk of serious complications from COVID-19, the Province implemented restrictions to reduce the risk of transmission for residents and staff during the earlier phases of the pandemic.

While the restrictions were necessary to keep residents and staff safe, we know they have been challenging for many residents and their families. With the recent increased vaccination rates and reopening in the broader communities, visitation restrictions for LTC and seniors’ AL for residents, families and visitors will ease with a new visitation policy in effect on July 19, 2021. For more information on the new visitor guidelines, visit the BCCDC website.


Please refer to the Government of B.C. website on current public health orders that may restrict travel to and from your location: Province-wide restrictions.


If you do not have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and require an assessment or documentation for travel outside of Canada, please visit our Assessment for travel page and Government of Canada travel page.

Proof of vaccination and the BC Vaccine Card
Starting September 13, 2021, you need proof of vaccination to access some events, services and businesses. For more information, visit the Government of BC website

You can register to get the BC Vaccine Card on the Government of BC website.


By order of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), proof of vaccination is required to access some events, services and businesses. For more information on who the requirement applies to and what the requirement covers, please visit the Government of BC website.

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