Letter: Charmaine Enns, Island Health

letter from island health
A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Dear Editor of the Denman Island Grapevine,
As the Medical Health Officer for Comox Valley, Strathcona and North Island, I am writing to share evidence-based information about the COVID-19 vaccines.

As you and your readers know, the COVID-19 vaccine is arriving and is free for BC residents. Everyone who would like a vaccine will be offered one in the coming weeks and months.

The vaccines protect individuals and their loved ones against COVID-19. Right now, many people have zero protection against COVID-19. The vaccines approved for use in Canada provide about 95% protection from getting COVID-19, which saves lives, particularly in people who are most likely to get severe illness or die. If enough people get vaccinated, it makes it difficult for the disease to spread. This gives everyone protection – this is called ‘herd immunity1.

Vaccines are safe, and the benefits of being immunized against COVID-19 con?nue to vastly outweigh any risks2. Vaccine safety is closely monitored by Health Canada and the province.

I urge people in BC and across Canada to get vaccinated, so we can quickly and safely return to the ac?vi?es and normalcy of life that has been put on pause during the pandemic.

For trusted information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit these sources:
BC’s plan for vaccine distribu?on (BC Centre for Disease Control)
COVID-19 vaccines (BC government)
COVID-19 vaccine safety and regula?on (Health Canada)
COVID-19 FAQ (Immunize BC)

Yours in health,
Charmaine Enns, MD, MHSc, FRCPC
Medical Health Officer