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BC health officials encouraging residents to vaccinate

The top two health officials in British Columbia say a mask mandate is not necessary at this time in the province.

While providing an update on the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses in British Columbia today, health minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave an update on respiratory illnesses.

Dr. Henry urged residents to get their shots, regularly wash their hands, and stay home when sick. It is their first joint news conference held since the end of September, when the pair shared the government’s measures for an anticipated surge in hospitalizations this fall.

“I do not believe we need the heavy hand of a mandate to send a clear message that masks are an important tool that we can all use during this time and in every respiratory season. We should have one with us, we should use it in situations where it makes sense,” said Henry.

“If I have a sick child at home, I may wear a mask in my workplace to be extra cautious, even though I’m feeling well and I need to go, and I can go in to work.”

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Ninety per cent of people in the province have some immunity to the COVID-19 virus through vaccination, infection or both. Dix says vaccinations are the number one tool for everyone and he adds that it has never been easier to get vaccinated.

“Getting vaccinated is our best protection. We know this so we all need to act right away to register and book an appointment for our COVID-19 and influenza shot.”

He adds British Columbians have been getting their influenza vaccines in extraordinary numbers.

“Over 1.2 million of us have received our flu shots. That is twice as many as this time last year. We started earlier, and that has an impact.”

Dix also says people can safely get the flu and COVID booster at the same time. Dix and Dr. Henry are also advising people to wear masks saying to carry one in your pocket and wear it when it makes sense.

Story by Lee Griffi, Vista Radio

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