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Opinion: ‘Why won’t they get vaccinated,’ asks worried Burnaby families about care home workers

Should this be mandatory?
COVID-19 vaccine
A senior male is about to receive a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine. - Photograph via Getty Images

When the news first broke months ago about the first COVID-19 vaccine, I made the silly mistake of assuming everyone would want it.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to get vaccinated for a virus that can kill you?

Well, it turns out there are plenty of people. There’s the usual anti-vaccination crowd that thinks vaccines are filled with Bill Gates’s 5G technology and a chip that will track their movements.

There’s always a group of tinfoil-hat wearing clowns ready to be the worst that humanity can offer.

But what seemingly bright health-care workers who have refused to get it.

One family contacted me recently with concerns that a couple of the workers in the Burnaby home that care of their father admitted to them that they weren’t planning on getting the jab.

“I pretty much lost it at that point,” said the family member. “Why won’t they get vaccinated? If they don’t want to protect themselves, why not protect my dad?”

I’m not naming the person because they live in fear that there will be retribution against their dad by staff and the care home itself for speaking out. This is a common thing. Many families have approached the NOW with a raft of concerns since the start of the pandemic, but they are terrified of retaliation, which is just stunning.

Another person contacted me today upset because they can’t find out if all of the staff in their family member’s care home have been vaccinated for COVID-19. They’ve asked, but they are fearful of pushing the issue.

Back in February, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry listed the figure of 89 per cent of B.C.’s 34,658 long-term care home staff having been vaccinated. Now it should be noted that while COVID-19 vaccines are effective, they are not 100% effective so a worker who gets COVID-19 and spreads it to vulnerable senior could end up killing them.

The number of workers who have been vaccinated has likely grown since then – I hope – and it seems like a high number, but I can’t believe that isn’t 100%. Teachers are begging to get vaccinated, but others are saying, “thanks, but no thanks.”

It’s infuriating. The fact that families live in fear of the people who care for their loved ones is also infuriating.

COVID-19 has laid bare just how much the health system has failed seniors citizens and there seems to be little political will to fix things.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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