As the state prepares to begin its fall COVID-19 vaccination campaign, doctors, researchers and teachers are concerned that not enough is being done to prevent another triple epidemic. ing.
B.C. Green Party deputy leader Dr Sanjiv Gandhi said his state was “frighteningly prepared” for the fall-winter respiratory disease season.
“I think this year we are less prepared than at any time in the last few years,” Gandhi told the Post Media News on Friday.
Last year, the state also required masks to be worn in hospitals and medical settings. “There is nothing like it right now,” he said this year. He also noted that the state is lagging behind in updating ventilation systems in schools, hospitals and indoor public buildings.
“I am very concerned about what this means for our children,” said Gandhi, a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon and former director of cardiac surgery at BC Children’s Hospital.
Protect B.C., a coalition of doctors, nurses, health researchers and school safety activists, warns that the state is headed for a return to the triple threat of COVID-19.respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), And the flu that clogged hospitals last winter and killed six children.
“In short, we are on track to undo last year,” the group said in an open letter to Prime Minister David Eby, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Education Minister Lakhna Singh this week. .
“We feel like we’re in a worse situation[than last winter]because of people’s complacency,” said a Vancouver-based elementary school teacher and co-founder of Protect Your British Columbia. Founder Jennifer Hyton says: It’s been neglected all year. Also, the long-term damage caused by COVID-19 has not been adequately explained to the public so far. ”
Rein Philiatraut, a former emergency physician who has worked at Vancouver General Hospital for 22 years and is a signatory to the open letter, said what was happening in other parts of the world, including the United States, where the number of cases already stands at 12.5. It’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening, he said. Percent increase in hospital admissions.
Philiatraut said public health officials had “zero lessons learned” since the deaths of six children and a crowded emergency room last winter.
“We are adopting a vaccination-only strategy,” she said, which ignores other safety measures such as air filtration and masking.
“With this virus, you have to be two steps ahead,” she said. B.C. public health officials “will respond again.”
Philiatraut said the public health message was sufficient to address the potentially debilitating long-term effects of COVID-19, including symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and neurological symptoms. I am concerned that we are not focusing on
“There is a level of complacency in the public health community that they basically stop counting the impact of this virus after 30 days and they are not counting excess mortality,” she said.
A University of British Columbia study found that while BC has one of the lowest death rates from COVID-19 in North America, excess deaths (the number of deaths normally expected based on modeling and past years) The number of deaths exceeding in any province of Canada.
Protect Our State is calling on the government to install HEPA filters in all B.C. classrooms to improve ventilation and restore mask mandates in schools.highton The state hopes to revive PCR testing to detect the spread of the virus, rather than relying on less accurate wastewater monitoring.
Seven new coronavirus-related deaths occurred in the last week of July, according to the latest data available from the B.C. Centers for Disease Control situation report. Last week, 8 patients in B.C. were in critical care with COVID-19.
Hyton, Gandhi and Philiatraut are concerned about the low vaccination rates among children and adolescents in British Columbia. 16% of children under 4 years old are fully vaccinated, 19% of children aged 5-11 years have received 3 doses and 38% of adolescents have been vaccinated12 . Up to 17 years old: 3 doses.
Philiatraut said public health officials are not promoting vaccination of children.
State health officials were not available for interviews on Friday, but Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement that B.C. will begin rolling out the novel coronavirus vaccine (a new version of the novel coronavirus mRNA vaccine) in the fall. He said he would launch a vaccination campaign. Pfizer Bio-N Tech and Moderna are currently awaiting approval from Health Canada.
Henry said that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against the current novel coronavirus disease (SARS CoV-2) and its variants, so fully vaccinated people should He said people should wait for the latest dose instead of getting the bivalent vaccine booster now.
“As with the flu, we are looking at what strains could be prevalent and disease-causing next season,” Henry said in a statement. “That’s why it’s so important to get this latest vaccine. It builds on the immunity you got from previous vaccinations.”
Henry said the state will release details of its fall vaccination campaign in the coming weeks.
Caroline Colin, an epidemiologist at Simon Fraser University and chair of the Canada 150 Study Committee on Mathematics for Evolution, Infectious Diseases and Public Health, said the summer’s low COVID-19 infection rate and her final booster shots. This, combined with the high number of people infected with the virus, has raised concerns that British Columbians may be more susceptible to infection than they were six months ago.
The state also monitors the prevalence of the EG.5 subspecies, a descendant of the Omicron subspecies XBB.1.9.2 that now predominates in the United States. Henry said the variant is prevalent at low levels in British Columbia and other parts of Canada.
“The best protection against COVID-19 remains a multi-layered approach that includes vaccination, staying home when unwell, wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces, and washing your hands,” Henry said. .
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