Monday August 23, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC [Last update 8:35 am August 24, 2021]
Editorial by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc, Editor | Island Social Trends
In BC, people age 12+ will need to show a BC Vaccine Card for certain events, services & businesses. by public health order, that requirement starts September 13, 2021.
The boom came down on this today, August 23, as announced by Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry in a 1 pm press conference.
The public health order to make this official (and be eligible for enforcement) has come about primarily as about 90% of people who test positive for COVID-19 have not been vaccinated, the officials stated today on the premier’s first day back from summer vacation.
And so the push is on to make sure everyone is vaccinated, in a way that tip-toes around making the vaccination mandatory.
The least success with vaccination is in people under the age of 50 so far in BC — variably around the province — it was stated today by Minister Dix. The vaccination rate for people over age 50 years is fairly consistent across BC, he said today.
Currently 83.2% (3,856,248) of British Columbians age 12+ have received their first dose of COVID vaccine and 74.9% (3,473,215) have received their second dose. Two doses are required for full vaccination, according to the science known at this point. A third dose might be required in the upcoming respiratory season and/or next year, said Dr Henry in recent weeks.
Where the cases are:
The highest new-case tally has been found in Interior Health for the past few weeks, where people have been vacationing and also where community displacement is happening due to wildfires. But the highly transmissible Delta variant is causing almost all the infections in any location of BC now (it’s prevalence was already known by the last week of July 2021).
By age, most of the new cases are among young adults. As of today August 23, the BC Centre for Disease Control stats show the tally of test-positive cases of COVID-19 infection to be highest in the 20-29 year age group (37,241 cases in BC, 1,437 on Vancouver Island), followed by the 30-39 year age group (30,011 cases in BC, 1,084 on Vancouver Island), and then the 40-49 year age group (23,175 cases in BC, 705 on Vancouver Island).
There were 442 new COVID cases reported today in BC Centre for Disease Control statistics (36 in Island Health). That brings the total active cases in BC to 5,056 (401 of those in Island Health).
Proof of vaccination dates:
By order of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), proof of vaccination will be required to access some events, services and businesses. Getting vaccinated keeps everyone in B.C. safe and stops the spread of COVID-19.
- Starting Monday September 13, people will need to show they’ve had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
- Starting Sunday October 24, people will need to show it’s been 7 days since their 2nd dose (i.e. get your 2nd shot no later than Sunday October 17).
What you need the proof for:
Events, businesses and services will ask to see your proof of vaccination and valid government ID.
The requirement is in place until January 31, 2022, subject to extension.
The requirement applies to all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+) and covers:
- Indoor ticketed concerts, theatre, dance, symphony and sporting events
- Indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, pubs and bars
- Nightclubs and casinos
- Movie theatres
- Gyms, pools and recreation facilities
- Does not include youth recreational sport
- Indoor high intensity group exercise
- Indoor organized gatherings like weddings, parties, conferences, meetings and workshops
- Indoor organized group recreational classes and activities like pottery and art
- Does not include K to 12 school and before and after school programs
- Post-secondary on-campus student housing. Note: Students must be partially vaccinated by September 7.
Poor protection for young adults:
While politely bemoaning the fact that most cases of unvaccinated infections are in people ages 20 to 40 years, the BC government leadership has not owned up to the stark reality that this could have been prevented or at least not be such a huge problem at this phase of the pandemic.
Young adults were left until last in the vaccination queue (the strategy was from eldest first, age-descending), then even teens (who could drop in with adult family members who had appointments) got ahead of the 20’s in the appointment queue, then summer came again it should not have been a surprise to anyone that young adults would increase their socialization.
There has been a complete miss on how young adults would be impacted by this left-til last scenario.
And to worsen the burn, now the interval between shots has been shortened to 28 days (even while Dr Henry has clearly stated that a longer period produces greater effectiveness — at least six to eight weeks, with 11 weeks being the standard in May and June of this year).
As this additional left-to-last reality hits home for young adults, it digs hard for some, who have in many ways put their lives on hold and/or at risk or loss, in many cases in more ways that older people have.
Pressure is on:
Now the pressure is on to get young adults back into their post-secondary studies on campus and many teachers in K-12 public education are also in that age grouping of 20 to 40 years. Everyone who is getting vaxxed now in a hurry is experiencing some degree of chaos and getting a less-effective dosage regimen (i.e. shortest possible dosage interval).
There was already push back (over how their age cohort was treated), and that could backfire even more now. The push to vaccination with the proof-of-vaccination card is hopefully done delicately enough to not cause an uproar among young adults. Sensibly, most will make sure their double-dose gets done, but this is the most inelegant part of Dr Henry’s “BC pandemic”.
Dr Henry today said the Delta variant is a big part of the urgency here. The Delta variant has been around for many weeks; it showed evidence of dominance (94% or more of all positive cases) even in the last week of July, as seen in BC Centre for Disease Control statistics.
No one is saying that managing a once-in-a-century pandemic was easy, and mistakes were bound to happen. But the magnitude of oversight to protect the sector of the population that are the workers (and taxpayers) for the next 40 to 50 years is colossal. It shows too much dependence by politicians upon public health; the sensibilities of overall societal and economic management kicked in far too late to even try to have the best possible outcome.
In addition to the socio-emotional anger over this blunder, some (many?) people in their 20s and 30s will suffer from the lingering effects of mild to moderate COVID infection. Some of these ‘resilient’ young adults may not even realize that they’ve dealt with a COVID infection. For BC public health to have just figuratively kept their fingers crossed and hoped there wouldn’t be too much loss in this age group is shockingly brazen. That BC politicians went along with it only underscores how much our elected officials need to be more broadly educated, so that they’re not learning on the fly during a crisis.
Bootcamp for things like trauma, pandemic, artificial intelligence, digital security, and space travel are not beyond the realm of need among elected officials in this decade.
And as for understanding youth — well, adults of any time in history have probably shaken their heads at the behaviour of youth. But in 2021 it does require a crash-course for older politicians as to the mindset of the youth and youth adults of the digital age, especially in Canada where an unshakable core of self-worth and authenticity are part of the very fabric of these age groups.
Today’s age 18 to 30 in particular know the fate of the world is in their hands but they have yet to hold the reins. It’s necessary for political leaders to be more than ‘briefed’. They must dig deep to understand, and fast.
Timeline for more:
Tomorrow there will be an announcement at 9:30 am by Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside and Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang as to how the K-12 education system and post-secondary campuses will be directed to handle this fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first cases of COVID-19 were officially seen in December 2019 in other countries. In Canada the first cases were seen by February, brought in by travellers who had been abroad. The pandemic was officially declared in BC on March 17, 2020.
Infection by the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) virus was first evident in Wuhan, China. While viral mutation is a natural phenomenon, international investigations have led, so far, to determining that the virus could have been something under experimentation in a lab in Wuhan, and somehow it ‘jumped’ beyond the lab into nearby wet-market conditions in the city.
Mass immunization clinics shifting to smaller & mobile (August 21, 2021)
COVID in BC: Now 28-day interval for anyone needing 2nd dose (August 9, 2021)
Premier Horgan: sports & AstraZeneca for both shots (June 18, 2021)