Quick success with the vaccine call centre
Today I became eligible to apply for a COVID-19 vaccine shot. So armed with a pot of coffee, the Times Colonist, my iPad and a phone primed for redial I sat down at 6:55 a.m. for what I assumed would be a day-long marathon.
Much to my surprise, the phone was answered after three rings, I was put on hold for a couple of minutes, and then spoke with a pleasant operator who took information for me and my husband.
All done in five minutes! I didn’t even get a chance to finish my coffee.
Vaccination was well-organized
On Monday, with some trepidation, my wife and I went for my scheduled COVID-19 vacination at UVic’s McKinnon gym.
I was prepared for the presence of at least some confusion. As we turned onto Gabriola Road, signage was in place and a parking attendant signalled to us where there was more than sufficient spaces available.
A short walk, again well signed, led us to the ingoing lineup where there were about 25 people ahead, all properly spaced and under the direction of another very polite guide.
After about 15 minutes we arrived at the entrance to the gym where a polite attendant checked to make sure that we were who we were supposed to be, and had proper masks before entering the gym. Inside, another attendant directed us to where other agents were recording Personal Health Numbers and directing where to proceed next.
Another short walk led to where the vaccinating was proceeding, and when a space became vacant, an attendant directed which station to go for the injection, which was done by another cordial and smiling medical practitioner. Moments later I was comfortably seated to await the recommended wait period to pass before leaving for home.
Whomever is the lead person of the team that planned for such an extraordinary event should somehow be recognized for having organized such a well planned and executed operation. Perhaps the Order of British Columbia would be appropriate!
Every one of that team, and all of those assisting in the whole exercise deserve our very sincere thanks.
Alberta is ahead in vaccination race
I just spoke to a friend of mine who lives in Calgary. She and her husband celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a wonderful fashion as both of them received their COVID-19 shots.
She will admit to being in her mid-60s and her husband is 71. Neither of them are Indigenous, nor are they inmates of a federal penitentiary, a long-term care home or any other type of residential institution.
And, just to add insult to injury, both will receive their vaccinations at their local pharmacy.
Why is Alberta, with all its well-publicized financial difficulties, so far ahead of B.C. in this effort? As a 67-year-old B.C. resident, I am told not to expect to receive my vaccination until May or June and pharmacists appear not to be on the list of those administering them. What gives?
Public has a right to know the truth
Chris Foord’s concerns about the negative impact from the city’s Richardson Street project are well founded.
My wife and I are avid recreational cyclists. We frequently ride our bicycles on Richardson between Cook Street and Foul Bay Road on weekdays as well as weekend days.
Richardson Street is quite wide enough to accommodate safely the current and future vehicle and bicycle traffic volumes in addition to the parked vehicles on both sides of the street.
There is no need for a dedicated bicycle lane. I would urge the Times Colonist to do some investigative reporting about the true purpose of the project.
The city seems to try hard to create a problem where none exist. The public has a right to see the city’s traffic and environmental impact studies as well as the cost/benefit calculations.
Simple changes first, before new bike lanes
As a driver who prefers to cycle around Victoria whenever I can, I endorse completely the recent comments by Chris Foord about the need to rethink the proposed Richardson Street bike plans.
It is easy to get a sense of what the results will be like because similar designs are currently being installed on Vancouver Street to divert vehicle traffic.
So far, my experience is that any improvement for cyclists is minimal, and that the traffic diverter that blocks traffic at McClure was unnecessary.
Furthermore, it will increase traffic on Cook Street just as Cook is about to be affected by a sequence of very large construction projects, each of which will probably block at least one lane for long periods.
Rather than rushing ahead with the Richardson plan, it would make sense first to determine whether the changes to Vancouver work for cyclists or merely disrupt vehicle traffic.
My advice for the city, especially as it faces the financial consequences of the pandemic, is to put Richardson on hold and to consider a strategy that begins with low-cost, simple changes that will benefit cyclists, such as painting bike lanes and adding temporary installations to calm traffic.
How well those function can be assessed before spending money on construction. This would also make sense for the other projects scheduled to be added soon to the cycling network on Haultain, Kimta, Government and in James Bay.
Minor work needed, not a major rebuild
I add my voice to the criticism of the plan for Richardson Street.
This is not needed. As a cyclist, Richardson is already a favoured route to and from downtown from Oak Bay, and one that is already much safer.
It is also a favoured route by car when going to and from town.
There are many cyclists wanting to use that route, but also many retired drivers who prefer it.
There will not be more traffic from Oak Bay and Fairfield areas in future, so it is not necessary to increase the load on Oak Bay Avenue and Fairfield, which is already heavy enough.
Stop the major changes to vehicle-traffic flow and improve the route for cyclists by all means, but don’t do major surgery when a minor procedure will suffice.
A balanced approach for old-growth forests
The B.C. government is calling for a balanced approach to the management of old-growth forests.
More than 97 per cent of B.C.’s original old growth has been logged. Protecting the remaining less than three per cent would be a small step towards balance.
Proper technique for vaccinations
One of the lesser inconveniences of the current pandemic is that one has been subjected to a daily deluge of forced TV-watching of hundreds of individuals being vaccinated serially from east to west, while trying to gather any Canadian news.
It is now about 70 years since I was first permitted to inject any substance into a human body while a medical student at a London, U.K., hospital.
As I was taught the technique, I was sternly warned that, unless I wished to give the material into a vein, after jabbing the needle into the patient’s tissue, I must always slightly withdraw the plunger of the syringe to ensure the tip of the needle was not in a vein by mistake.
During my enforced TV diet, I have been alarmed to note only one occasion when the technician employed the method I was taught while hundreds ignored it. Recent reports of some adverse reactions immediately following the injection, together with my registration for vaccination this week have alarmed me a little, so perhaps I may be forgiven if I am very attentive.
I am encouraged that, while at the same medical hospital, I survived an outbreak of smallpox after vaccination, but it was only an epidemic, not a pandemic.
Never forget Andersonville
In a letter on March 16, Larry Hannant said the first concentration camps were “during the Anglo-Boer War, 1889-1902.”
The first concentration camp was called Andersonville, located in the State of Georgia, operated by the Confederate States of America (CSA) during the American Civil War, 1861-1865.
One third of its inhabitants died of diseases such as dysentery, measles and mass starvation.
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