'We're going to be in a different place' this summer, says B.C.'s top doctor | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'We're going to be in a different place' this summer, says B.C.'s top doctor

Dr. Bonnie Henry Feb. 23, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
February 23, 2021 - 4:54 PM

The outlook for summer is better than you might think, according to B.C.’s top doctor.

“We have to manage the pandemic that we are still living through right now, but in the coming months, we're going to be able to do all those things that we have been missing for the last year,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, Feb. 23, when asked about the vaccination program.

“By the time we get to the summer, we're going to be in a different place and it's going to take all of us working together, and being patient and supporting our neighbours and supporting our elders and seniors in our lives, to get this going in the coming weeks," she said.

To this end, Dr. Henry said she’s going to be there “as the biggest cheerleader because this is what is going to get us out of the pandemic that we are in right now.”

While Dr. Henry expressed optimism about how the vaccine was going to change the landscape, she wasn’t unaware of criticism levied this morning by B.C.’s health critic about a lack of transparency surrounding the immunization program and how it’s affecting those who are anxiously awaiting their turn.

READ MORE: No COVID-19 cases or deaths in B.C. long-term care facilities in 24 hours

Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield is the BC Liberal Health Critic, and today she sent out a press release stating the government has not been clear on what it knows.

She called on the province to provide British Columbians "with clear instructions and information — both to reassure the public and to allow any gaps or problems to be identified early.”

Some of that missing information will be laid out Monday, when the province holds a press conference to explain the next step in the immunization process. So far they said the next phase will be directed at adults, age 80 and older, and distributed through both tailored and clinic-style plans. Dr. Henry offered assurances that no one would be left behind.

That said, Dr. Henry indicated she understood it’s not moved ahead as planned and that concerns have been raised. Since the start of the immunization program, 287,950 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., and 58,896 people have received a second dose.

“I think all of us across the country were thrown for a bit of a loop when our vaccine dried up for a few weeks, we've been using that time to put our systems in place to get the lists of people to make sure that we know exactly how and who we can reach out to and we're providing that information as we go along,” she said.

“It’s been a challenge for all of us.”

She also pointed out that B.C. has used all its available doses of vaccine to make sure those most at risk in long-term care homes were protected.

“That was our number one focus, and what we've seen has been incredibly positive and a huge relief for many of us, both in public health but also for the families who have people in care homes.”

She added that health officials have also been addressing those outbreaks in parts of the community and acute care system, and making sure that the province’s acute care system is well as protected so that care can be provided to everybody.

“You know these are things that take time and now that we are starting to receive the vaccine again and we've got the building blocks in place for the foundation of our program… we will have those details for people,” she said.

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