Anti-vaccine booklet put on cars at the hospital

Anti-vaccine leaflets claiming COVID-19 vaccinations are experimental and unsafe were left on vehicles parked at the Royal Jubilee Hospital on Tuesday.

Staff came out to find the material produced by a group calling themselves Children’s Health Defense Canada slipped under their windshield wipers. Children’s Health Defense is an American organization based in New Jersey and fronted by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

The literature says “before you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you must know that this vaccine is EXPERIMENTAL as it is NOT APPROVED for use in Canada”, which is false. Six COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in Canada.

A healthcare professional who found the literature under her windshield did not want her name used, but expressed disappointment at the false information and insult of healthcare professionals – the vast majority of whom have been vaccinated and are trying to treat COVID-19 patients.

Mike Benusic, chief medical officer on immunization for Island Health, said he could understand that some people were hesitant about COVID-19 vaccines when they were first approved in Canada, but now there is a wealth of lived experience, data and science that shows how well they work.

“Now that we are in June 2022, where we have had these vaccines for a year and a half now, we have so much information about every single aspect of COVID-19 vaccines that I can say that they are experimental. I really think it goes against [science]said Benusic.

About 92 percent of adults in the Island Health region have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Benusic said.

Severe adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines in BC remain extremely rare. Pr. By March 19, there were 11.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in BC and 5,600 side effects reported – 49 out of 100,000, Benusic said.

It remains important – especially for those aged 70 and older – to be vaccinated with two shots followed by a booster as COVID-19 continues to circulate, Benusic said.

“We still continue to see that the small proportion of people who are unvaccinated have disproportionately higher incidences of serious COVID injuries.”

A person 90 years or older who is not vaccinated and is infected with COVID-19 has a 30 percent risk of death, he said.

Unlike other vaccines that prevent infection, the COVID-19 vaccine only reduces the chance of infection, but its main purpose is to prevent serious illness and death, he said.

The province is trying to reach just over a million people who are eligible for booster shots, or their third shot, who have not yet received them. “The second booster can help reduce this risk even further and help prepare for COVID-19, which will not disappear in the near future.”

Some who want a fourth shot are confused as to why they can not get one, unlike in Ontario. Benusic said the fourth shot is available to people 70 years and older and people in long-term care, as described in the BC Center For Disease Control immunization manual.

Those designated as clinically extremely vulnerable or severely immunocompromised – for example, a patient undergoing chemotherapy – may also receive a fourth shot. If the vulnerable person is 70 years or older, they would be eligible for a fifth shot.

Ontario has offered fourth doses to the vulnerable since December 2021 and in April opened fourth doses up to individuals 60 years and older as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-native household members 18 years and older.

Benusic said that although the risk of an adverse event from COVID-19 vaccines is “very very low”, if the benefit of a fourth booster, for example, in people in their 60s is not high, it may not outweigh the risk.

Theoretically, there is also a concept of immune imprinting, he said, where if the same vaccine is given over and over again, it can diminish a person’s response to a modified version of the same virus.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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