Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix had some stern words after attendees at a COVID-19 town hall asked questions about debunked conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines.
The town hall on Wednesday, Aug. 11, was held to answer questions from residents in the Interior Health region about the province’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. While some questions were genuine, such as whether choirs will be allowed to sing in September, many asked about debunked myths about the vaccine. One attendee even accused Henry of being a “strategically placed agent” by the United Nations working for Bill Gates and “big pharma.”
“I think what we don’t need, in my view, are untrue personal attacks… This pandemic has affected our lives in profound ways. We know many people in our community have lost their lives and I think that deserves the respect and seriousness of a respectful and serious discussion,” said Dix in response to the attendee.
When asked why unvaccinated people are being “vilified” for choosing not to get the vaccine, Henry said that someone’s personal choice to not get vaccinated does not mean it doesn’t come with social consequences.
“In no way have we ever vilified people who made their choice to not be immunized… If you do make the choice not to be immunized, then you shouldn’t assume that you will be able to do all the same things that vaccinated people can do, especially if they are risky because we know that we can pass the virus on to others,” said Henry.
The telephone town hall comes after an outbreak was declared in the Central Okanagan area, which includes Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country. It also comes after the Interior Health region reported the most COVID-19 cases in the province: there were over 2,000 active cases in the Interior Health region on Wednesday, Aug. 11.