BC MLA Says ‘Alberta Influence’ Factor in Lower COVID-19 Vaccination Rates in the North | The Canadian News

Politicians used to training in the British Columbia legislature have joined forces outside the home to push for higher vaccination rates in the north, but a longtime member of the opposition liberals says “Alberta influence” it is a factor in a part of British Columbia where intensive care units cannot adapt to the influx of COVID-19 patients.

Mike Bernier said the proximity to neighboring Alberta “set us back from day one” when it comes to some northern residents avoiding vaccination.

“It would be the Alberta influence. A good part of the people in Dawson Creek, Pouce Coupe, the Fort St. John area, are very connected, whether for personal or work reasons, with Alberta, “he said. “And we’ve looked at the troubles in Alberta with a strong message of trying to vaccinate people until recently, and the crisis that they are in.”

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Bernier said some were so angry when BC introduced the vaccine passports that they posted messages online about shooting him for supporting the policy.

Most residents in the British Columbia region are not anti-vaccine, Bernier said.

“They have a strong will and they don’t like government intervention. They just want to work and raise their families and are very skeptical that government officials in general will tell them what to do. “

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Bernier, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 two days before his appointment for a first dose of a vaccine last May, has spoken out strongly in favor of vaccination, making him a target of threats.

About 100 people demonstrated last month in front of his office in Dawson Creek, where Northern Health says 55 percent of those eligible had received a second dose as of Tuesday. BC’s overall vaccination rate was about 82 percent on Thursday.

“The RCMP contacted me because they had created a great Facebook page of demonstrations, and someone was there about 10 minutes before saying ‘perfect, now we know where it is. Let’s grab our guns and go shoot this guy so we don’t have to listen to him anymore, ‘”Bernier said.

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“I cannot go back on the message of what I know and believe is correct for the people of my region. And, you know, no one is going to dissuade me from that just by making a few threats. “

Click to Play Video: 'Why Parts of Alberta Are Having Extremely Low COVID-19 Vaccination Rates'

Why Parts of Alberta Are Having Extremely Low COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

Why Parts of Alberta Are Having Extremely Low COVID-19 Vaccination Rates – September 15, 2021

Bernier responded to the crowd by standing in the back of a pickup truck and saying such online comments make it difficult for people to work in public life as they try to represent all voters.

Prime Minister John Horgan praised Bernier and his colleague Dan Davies, whose leadership on Peace River North includes Fort St. John, at a news conference Thursday for their vigilance in encouraging vaccination.

Health Minister Adrian Dix has also publicly thanked Bernier and Davies, along with local mayors.

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While provincial health official Dr. Bonnie Henry and politicians on opposite sides of the legislative corridor are calling for more people to get vaccinated, at least one mayor in the northern region has questioned whether the high number of hospitalizations is due to reality that people are not vaccinated.

Pouce Coupe Mayor Lorraine Michetti said politicians create divisions in a community by encouraging people to get vaccinated because that’s a personal choice.

“People have paid property taxes, they have paid income taxes. They have the right not to get vaccinated if they don’t want to, ”Michetti said in an interview, adding that she is fully vaccinated.

In the case of First Nations, there are other reasons to reduce vaccination rates.

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Dr. Shannon McDonald, acting chief medical officer for the First Nations Health Authority, said that indigenous peoples who have not been vaccinated “have really carried a historical distrust of government, generally of health systems,” noting anti-indigenous racism in British Columbia health. The health care system, as described in a report earlier this year, was “triggering.”

McDonald said the number of COVID-19 cases has risen dramatically in the province’s 203 communities where it has responsibility, from 10 to 15 a day in mid-August to 256 after Labor Day weekend. Fifty-two of those communities are in northern British Columbia.

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McDonald said there are lower vaccination rates among people in the 19-39 age groups in those communities, where it falls between “50 and 60 years old.”

The health authority has recently changed tack to increase vaccination rates, from massive clinics to having vaccine doses available in the community at all times so that people who attend regular medical appointments can get their questions answered and decide. if they want to get vaccinated on the day. point.

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