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Friday, December 1, 2023

Letter to the Editor – Keith Porteous

In a recent Letter to the Editor, I referred to advice from Stephen Malthouse that I had thankfully ignored. When we later spoke on the phone, he asked me what I was referring to. Nearly nine years ago, there was a Pertussis outbreak on Denman Island that went undiagnosed for a long period. My 4 month old daughter was hospitalized with Pertussis, but fortunately she had already received her first Pertussis shot from a public health nurse, saving her from brain damage or worse. Contrary to his claim, Malthouse did have one early appointment with my newly born daughter, weighing her, and advising me against vaccinations. Now, in last week’s Letter, Malthouse violates the privacy of our phone call and is not honest about its content.

Pertussis is not a dangerous disease to everyone, but can be very dangerous to newborns. In his most recent letter, Malthouse admits that the Pertussis vaccine can reduce the symptoms. These are the very symptoms that threaten a newborn’s life. Malthouse’s claim is that my issue with him is that he promotes anti-vaxx views. I was very clear with him on our phone call that this was not the case. And when he claims that I believe his views led to the Pertussis outbreak, he is being dishonest. I told him that he has every right to his view on childhood vaccines, just as I have the right to my own. I have always believed, and still believe in the principle of vaccine choice, where every person has the right to make decisions regarding themselves and their children.

I told Malthouse that I believed that the most critical public health issue currently in our community, is that we have become more acrimonious in our differences. Some best friends and neighbours no longer speak to one another. Neighbours viciously smear one another, and some have lost their jobs over the COVID19 issue. In attempting to bridge these unhealthy divides, I encouraged him to publicly share what he had told me of his own mistakes when the public health emergency was first declared. It would show a conciliatory tone that might help us reconcile divisions with a demonstration of humility. Three times he asked for suggestions of what he might say, and each time he simply refused to acknowledge what I had given him in specific suggestions, even when I repeated his own admissions to him.

In my view, some of Stephen Malthouse’s actions during the pandemic were irresponsible, and exacerbated the divisions in our community on what should have been personal and private health matters, just as I believe that the 20 local Doctors who promised herd immunity as a result of COVID19 inoculations have been irresponsible, having never admitted their mistakes. This demonstrates critical flaws in all of our local caregivers, and their capacity for reason. Malthouse doesn’t listen well, and his hubris impedes him from the compassion required to be an effective public health advocate. He is, however, a very capable Spin Doctor.

Author: TIG

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