COVID-19: B.C. Health update, B.C. vaccine card announced | Vancouver Sun

COVID-19: B.C. Health update, B.C. vaccine card announced | Vancouver Sun

i’m joined today by public health officer dr bonnie henry and uh minister of health adrian dix and before we get into the substance of today’s announcement i just want to say again how grateful i and all british colombians are to those who have been for the past number of months working so hard to protect people and property right across british columbia through yet another absolutely horrific fire season here in bc it’s certainly challenging this is the fourth year of this government and this is the third summer of record-breaking heat record-breaking fires and these are challenges that we are prepared for because of the hard work of people in every part of the province so to the crews to emergency management bc to indigenous leaders to community leaders who’ve all been stepping up to do their part to engage in this challenging fire season as well as all of the other issues that are on our plates i want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and and saying that though although we’ve had a bit of a reprieve because of the weather we’re a long way from out of the fire season currently uh significant fires uh in all parts of british columbia here on the island in the interior getting certainly a reprieve in the north for now uh but indications are that we have several several weeks to go so people please be vigilant listen be attentive if you’re in a fire area to those around you to emergency personnel who are there of course to make everybody safe and now of course i want to turn to the objective of our conference today and that’s to talk about where we are in the covet 19 pandemic minister dix and dr henry have already advised that it’s quite unlikely in fact it is not likely that we’ll we we will be moving to step four of our restart plan comes september the delta variant and an increase in cases largely within the unvaccinated population has led us to pause and reflect on what steps what measures can we take through public health and through other initiatives to protect british columbians to protect businesses and to make sure that we can keep doing to the best of our ability those things that make life here in british columbia so special getting vaccinated is the way forward through this pandemic we have outstanding numbers minister dicks will go through this shortly three quarters of british columbians eligible 12 and above have had two doses of approved safe and effective vaccines over 82 and a half percent i think i’ve already had a first dose and today we are announcing the initiation of what we’re calling the bc vaccine card to make sure that when you go out to non-discretionary activities like ticketed sporting events indoor concerts movies wherever there is non-discretionary activity that you can go to with the confidence that those around you have also taken steps to protect themselves and their families the bc vaccine card will help us get there this gives people time as we start with a target date of september 13th to implement the bc vaccine card with an end date of october 24th plus seven days to ensure that the vaccines the second vaccine for those who have not yet had their immunizations will be safe to go into the broader population this is a step we believe is important at this point in the in the pandemic and dr henry will go into some of the details but there is no uh reason why those who are anxious to participate in the social and economic life of our community can’t take that next step and get that safe effective vaccine they’re free we have clinics around the province there will be more opportunities through pop-up clinics clinics through walk-in clinics to make sure that that decreasing number of people who have not yet taken advantage of this opportunity will do so and when they do that that will give them opportunities to go to night clubs to go to restaurants where i have to say and it’s critically important at this this point in our consultations with the business community those who provide services to people restauranteurs the hospitality sector tourism industries that have indoor activities sporting events cultural events arts events all of them want to make sure that they can continue to provide quality entertainment quality services for british columbians and they want to do it in a way that gives their patrons confidence that they’re taking every step possible to make sure that they can attend an event they can go to a spin class they can go out for dinner and not be fearful that they may contract contact come into contact with someone who might be able to transmit kobit 19. the bc vaccine card is following in the footsteps of other jurisdictions i’ve spoken to premier le go in quebec who was an early adherent to a passport an immunization card in that province and we’ve learned a great deal from their implementation and of course other jurisdictions will learn from the work we do here in british columbia british columbians need to know that this is the first time anything like this has ever been tried uh there may be bumps along the way but we’re very confident minister dix and his team have been working with citizen services throughout the summer to make sure the technologies can be ready to go in september dr henry and her team have been making sure that we’re doing this in a way that keeps everybody fully apprised of the state of play as we go forward so with that i’ll turn the microphone up over to dr henry and she can fill in the details thank you very much and good afternoon so as the premier indicated um i also want to begin today by recognizing everybody in british columbia who has taken that important step of protecting themselves and their family and their communities by getting vaccinated to help us get through this pandemic we’ve come a long way since this pandemic began 19 20 months ago and over the past 18 months we have pulled through these challenging times together and we need to continue to recalibrate to look at what’s going on around us and to take the necessary actions to get us through this next phase and as we have been through the last year and a half two years we do it as a province united with compassion and with kindness and british colombians continue to demonstrate their strong resolve to put this behind us thankfully we have a powerful and effective tool now that helps us on this on this journey and that’s vaccinations not only are they very very safe but they provide protection to you to those who you are closest to your loved ones and your community and allows us to get back to those much needed social interactions and connections that we need vaccines have changed the way we deal with a pandemic and have made it possible to remove restrictions and get back to doing some of those things that we love and we’ve seen that we’ve had that opportunity over this past few months of the summer even though we’ve been faced with other challenging situations that have made it more and more difficult and while we are making excellent progress with our vaccine efforts we continue to see waves of cases particularly in people who are not yet vaccinated over the past month and up until the end of last week people who have not been fully vaccinated account for almost 90 percent of all of our cases and over 93 of the hospitalizations that we’ve had in this in this past month to put it in context we we have a rate of about 28 per 100 000 cases in people who are unvaccinated compared to two per hundred thousand in people who are fully vaccinated what that tells us is that your risk is 10 times higher if you’ve not been protected through vaccine and what we are seeing is that leads to transmission in clusters of groups of people when they come together particularly now that we are seeing transmission with the highly transmissible delta variant across the province these numbers are a stark reminder to all of us why vaccines matter and we have made incredible progress and in our shared efforts to put the pandemic behind us high levels of transmission among unvaccinated people mean that further action is needed to help reduce transmission to keep all of our businesses open and ensure we can continue to enjoy the social events that we have been able to through the summer as we head into the fall the science is clear as i said unvaccinated people added more than 10 times higher risk than vaccinated people when you are vaccinated it means that you are less likely to get infected if you are infected you shed virus for a shorter period of time you’re less likely to transmit to other people and you’re much less likely to have a severe illness that leads to hospitalization and we’ve seen that that protection is remaining strong when we look around the world and here in bc which is why these new measures are now needed to ensure that as we move into the fall as we know that our respiratory season will be ramping up and we can ensure indoor social settings are as safe as they can be for the vast majority of us who have been immunized the best protection as well of those who cannot yet be immunized particularly children under the age of 12 as they head back to school in a few short weeks is that all of us around those people are protected that means we stop the transmission and we protect children as well so a new provincial health officer order will require individuals to provide proof of vaccination our bc vaccination card to access certain social recreational and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province as of september 13th you will need to have at least one dose of vaccine to enter these settings and by october 24th entry to these settings will require people age 12 and older to be fully vaccinated at least seven days after receiving both doses so the settings that we’re talking about are include indoor ticketed sporting events indoor concerts theater dance and symphony events indoor and patio dining in restaurants nightclubs and casinos fitness centers gyms and businesses offering indoor high intensity exercise organized indoor events like weddings or parties birthdays conferences and workshops and indoor organized events sorry discretionary organized indoor recreational classes and activities so things like seniors classes choirs and other indoor groups these new measures will help reduce transmission and keep our communities safer and ensure we can continue to keep businesses open continue to have those social and arts and sports events as safely as we can for those who are protected there will continue to be many ways for people to receive their first and second doses of vaccine it’s quick it’s safe it’s easy and it’s the best way we have to protect yourself and your community and to be able to continue to participate in these important social and arts and social and sports events so i encourage you to visit gov.bc.ca vax for bc to find a clinic near you this simple act will make all the difference as we know it is the way to stop the higher transmission that we’re seeing with the delta variant across the province now so this uh the there will be more details about how to access your bc vaccination card but just be assured it is a confidential system that will allow you to download onto your phone the the card that indicates whether you are partially vaccinated fully vaccinated or unvaccinated and businesses will be able to will be required to look for your vaccination card and your proof of identification as we do for many other things if we’re attending a concert or or going into a liquor store for example so that is the there will also be provisions for people who are who don’t have access to uh to a a phone to be able to do this through our call center and we’ll be ramping up and giving you the details of that in the coming weeks so buy the uh the end of the long weekend we’ll have all of those details out for you but this is our way of getting through this next phase of the pandemic that we’ve been dealt and to make sure that we can go through the fall with safely reopening schools safely reopening post-secondary education for for students for faculty and to safely continue our businesses and events through the fall we also need to continue to do those things that keep us safe including wearing masks in indoor public areas using hand hygiene regularly and keeping our respectful distance from people we need to and we will be continually reassessing and adapting as we go through this next phase and we deal with the pandemic that we’ve been cards that we’ve been dealt this will be a time limited initiative and will eventually as we move into the fall we’ll continue to work with the federal government to make sure we have an alignment with the federal passport vaccine passport that’s under development as well but for now this is what we need to continue to operate safely in our communities as we head into this next fall and it will allow us to get through this with compassion and with kindness as we have been doing all along here in bc and i’ll now turn it over to mr dixon thank you very much dr henry and uh i wanted to start by saying that uh our program our immunization bc program here in bc is one of the most successful in the world 83.2 of all those over 12 all those 12 and over those eligible to be vaccinated have been vaccinated 74.9 percent have received both doses of a coven-19 vaccine and i’m obviously very proud of that record it represents 7 million 336 798 doses administered and all of those doing that work from pharmacists in the community to doctors and nurses and many other health professionals to all of those supporting the efforts we say thank you and to all those british columbians who themselves have stepped up in their vast majority to get vaccinated and they get vaccinated again we say thank you where we are in the pandemic as i think was well summarized by dr henry that most of the recent cases we’ve seen and hospitalizations we’ve seen continue to be amongst unvaccinated individuals who represent of course a smaller and smaller share of the population in mid-august the case rate amongst unvaccinated people was 10 times higher 10 times higher than the case rate in fully vaccinated people only 8 percent of the cases in hospital are amongst fully vaccinated people what it says is there is a profound need for your health to be vaccinated and that in the time of the delta variant being unvaccinated puts you your family and your community at risk i wanted to note of course that we’re at step three in our restart plan as the premier has said and as dr henry and i indicated last week it is likely that we will not be staying moving to step four at the moment at september 7th which was the earliest possible date we would consider moving to that step in any event today’s action this action around a bc vaccine card is a key step in making sure that we continue to move forward in bc that we overcome coven 19 together and that we move forward together we know that the delta variant is highly transmissible we know that while so many british columbians have had their first and second doses there are british colombians about 776 000 eligible right now who have not yet done so we know that unvaccinated people are getting sick and we know they are going to hospital and we know that no one is comfortable with any of this because throughout this pandemic we’ve learned we’ve learned that climbing case numbers rising hospitalizations and increasing numbers of people in icu is not the direction we want to go or one that can be sustained our pandemic has always been about making good choices with the information we have and making the best choices to stop the spread and keep people safe and to make the best choices we have always provided the best support that science offers and the clearest guidance it makes possible that’s why we’re acting to ensure that as of september 13th people will be required to be vaccinated to participate in a broad range of social settings and activities these include and dr henry went through them but it’s important to through them again indoor ticketed sporting events indoor concerts theater dance and symphony events indoor and patio dining dining inn restaurants nightclubs and casinos fitness centers and gyms business offer businesses offering indoor high intensity exercise organized indoor events such as weddings parties conferences meetings workplaces indoor organized events again such as conferences and weddings and by october 24th to participate in these settings and events people will need to be fully vaccinated at least the first dose by september 13th both doses by october 24th at le and they’ll have to do it at least seven days before that so important to meet those deadlines taking this action now is a critical step in continuing to increase the vaccination rate across the province it’s an essential step to provide increased confidence to fully vaccinated people that those around them are also fully vaccinated and made the best choice in our bc pandemic and are also bringing us back together safely our bc pandemic has always been about taking thoughtful action and acting with precision providing advanced notice of this measure to stop the spread keep people safe and increase confidence will allow those who have not yet got their vaccines to take the necessary action to do so immediately and i want to say this and as you know this is an important opportunity and across british columbia there will be the opportunities to do that you can get registered today to get your cova 19 vaccine and i encourage you to do so online people will be able to confident confidentially access their proof of vaccination a secure web link will be widely communicated ahead of september 13th and there will also as dr henry has said be an option for people who can’t access their record online but let’s be clear to enter and access the settings we’ve mentioned every person’s age 12 and up above older must be vaccinated and we all need to remember that getting vaccinated keeps everyone in bc safe and stops the spread of covid19 and getting vaccinated is the best choice to protect yourself the people you love and to ensure you can continue to participate in these settings and events i want to thank everyone in bc for their continuing effort in this very challenging time of the coven 19 pandemic this is an action we can take together safely i encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities across british columbia to get vaccinated and to do so today thank you very much hand it back to the premier thanks adrian uh dr henry and with that uh i will also just advise the media that there will be uh full briefings tomorrow on uh with minister whiteside and minister kang with respect to k-12 and post-secondary i know there are a lot of questions about where we’re heading in those two sectors that will be fully laid out tomorrow by the ministers responsible with dr henry today we want to focus on the immunization card and what that means as we build uh the foundations for the tools we’ll need and use throughout the next number of months to continue to move uh covet 19 into the rear view mirror for many british columbians but still very very critically important to those who have already been infected those who have not yet been vaccinated that’s our focus today and with that i’ll invite questions from the media you
rn

COVID-19: B.C. Health update, B.C. vaccine card announced | Vancouver Sun

rn

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *