Letters May 7: Second jabs for cancer patients; we've got to do something about 'got'

Their lives depend on a second shot

Re: “Cancer patients call to have second COVID jab sooner,” May 1.

I have a son with multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer) who got his first shot of Pfizer-BioNTech five weeks ago, on March 30.

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Data from the world’s first reported trial to examine the level of immune protection after the Pfizer-BioNTech ­vaccine in cancer patients has found that anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses at week three following the first dose of the vaccine were only 39 per cent and 13 per cent in the solid and blood ­cancers, ­compared with 97 per cent in those ­without cancer.

The preprint study also reports that when the second dose of the vaccine was given three weeks after the first dose, the immune response improved significantly for solid cancer patients with 95 per cent of them showing detectable antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus within just two weeks.

By contrast, those who did not get a vaccine boost at three weeks did not see any real improvement, with only 43 per cent of solid cancer patients and eight per cent of blood cancer patients developing antibodies to the Pfizer vaccine at five weeks compared to 100 per cent of healthy controls.

Ontario and Alberta are giving second shots to these severely immunocompromised people as prescribed by the drug companies, but Dr. Bonnie Henry seems to have decided not to follow suit.

Research conducted by the ­Italian Hematology Alliance on COVID-19 and published in August in The Lancet ­Haematology shows that among 536 patients with a hematologic malignancy and COVID-19 included in the study, 37 per cent died. Hospitalized blood cancer patients’ covid mortality rate has been seen to be about 33 per cent.

Clearly everyone needs to be vaccinated, but it seems to be a waste of a first shot if cancer patients are not given the second shot in a timely manner.

I truly hope Henry changes her mind and puts these cancer patients at the head of the line for second shots.

Their lives depend on it.

Susan Freedman

Tiny-home village a charity effort

So Victoria city council is proudly opening up the tiny-home village, made up of shipping containers to provide temporary shelters for the homeless.

This is a wonderful project and will hopefully be expanded to other locations and jurisdictions. The really strange aspect is that it has been paid for by a GoFundMe account.

Seriously. The city council and mayor are happy to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to remake Victoria into a cyclist nirvana, while using charitable donations to fund what should be a basic responsibility of city government, to provide for the homeless population.

City council really needs to get its ­priorities straight.

Gwen Isaacs

Redundant adverbs causing much anguish

Re: “Epidemic of ‘got’ spreading like wildfire,” letter, May 5.

Regarding plagues affecting the English language, the battles were lost long ago over wandering apostrophes, the difference between “lie” and “lay” and others. Once in sheer despair I applied a felt pen to a sign in a museum when no one was looking. Why is everybody “like” these days? Like what? A pineapple? A doorknob? And what does everyone know that I don’t?

My most recent anguish is caused by redundant adverbs, which I first noticed several years ago on TV financial news programs and which migrated to other media. The most abused is “back” attached to verbs such as revert, release, restore, discharge, contribute and remand.

Others include continue “on,” progress “forward,” deploy “out,” diminish “down,” and extend “out.” My ­favourite, if it can be called that, is breached “through” a wall. In all these examples, depending on context, the adverb is almost always explicit in the verb itself.

All languages change over time, and due to its construction, English is especially susceptible to tampering, both good and bad. In spite of this, English has evolved to become incredibly rich, expressive and beautiful. We are by no means perfect, but we can try.

Andrea Ashton

I just have to send you a message

I’ve got to say I agree with the letter about the critical need to discourage rampant use of the word “got,” an interloper stemming from the Old Norse “geta,” circa 1200.

Happily, I had just got my thinking cap on when a scheme for eliminating the root offender from popular music got my undivided attention.

Unless I’ve got my wires crossed, we’ve got to get moving on classic song reissues under such sample titles as:

• I Can’t Achieve No Satisfaction

• Have to Place You Into My Life

• Leave My Cloud

• By the Time I Arrive in Phoenix

• Stuck in a Moment From Which You Can’t Extract Yourself

• Sit Up, Stand Up

One could, of course, continue in this vein until smoke enters your eyes. You’re welcome to join (let’s put it on), but I’ve got to split.

Earl Fowler
View Royal

Open public washrooms for those in need

A month ago I went shopping at my favourite grocery store, knowing that it had a washroom if I needed one.

It was a dark and gloomy day. Stepping out of my warm vehicle into the store I picked up a fresh cooked chicken, milk and five or six other things.

When an urge to use the washroom hit, I found it locked.

The manager just happened by and I said I really had to use the washroom. I was told sorry, new regulations in effect, the washroom was closed.

My basket almost full. What would you do? I left my basket, walked out the door and in between two cars I unloaded a bursting bladder.

I was lucky that no one noticed. Being too embarrassed to walk back in I drove to another store.

I can only shop at stores that have the facilities. I’m just hitting 90 years.

My average weekly groceries are about $80 to $90. That’s a big loss for a grocer to lose.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, if you read this, please consider. My mask is covering my nose and mouth. I wash and sanitize my hands before and after.

The most men in a washroom is one or two.

Let’s stop the embarrassment. Please.

Thanks for the wonderful release just to talk about it!

Dick Coles

Legacy of Victoria’s mayor and councillors

The legacy of the mayor and councillors has been set in stone. Some may think it will be the multimillion-dollar bike lanes or removal of statue from City Hall or the Johnson Street Bridge.

I suggest the legacy will be the ruination of Beacon Hill Park due to allowing 24/7 camping in the park. The damage to park grounds will be cleaned up, but long-term damage will take decades to repair.

Every councillor who voted to allow this to happen must take responsibility for this inept decision. The mayor and certain councillors still keep saying ­Beacon Hill Park is safe — compared with what?

Every day there are reports of people being assaulted in the park, some with their children present, so these council members must take their heads out of the sand.

Police reports confirm that calls are up dramatically. Victoria voters must remember these facts at the next civic election.

Paul Baldwin

If they are in need, they will take housing

I have been following the homeless problem in Victoria with empathy and concern.

I am grateful and proud of the enormous efforts of both the provincial and civic governments to provide homes out of the elements for those who been living in tents throughout the years.

When I read of a camper who rejected for the summer the bachelor suite offered him, the camper who rejected housing because he couldn’t carry on his bicycle repair business, the young woman who isn’t ready to go inside, I was ­surprised to have a foreign thought.

You don’t want to take, for now, a bachelor suite? You don’t want to accept housing that has been offered you?

I have started to think that perhaps those people are not as needy as I originally thought.

Lynn Martin

No bicycling in wilderness parks

The recent commentary about mountain biking in wilderness parks is right on regarding the impacts bikers have on the environment and wildlife habitat.

These impacts multiply in wet habitat and especially where there are no formal trails for bikers.

The conflicts between bikers and other users can be extremely dangerous. ­Bikers are known to be fast and silent. A few years back, in the southern Chilcotin on a particularly arduous uphill hike, we were beset upon by a group of bikers coming in the other direction.

No warning at all, our leader barely missed the lead bike by doing a header out of the way, yelling a warning to us who scrambled out of the way as the ­bikers shot by.

The bikers stopped and apologized. No damage was incurred but it was a close call.

We were shocked that they were so far off the beaten track on our hiking trail.

A close friend, a retired parks warden from Banff, explained that wildlife/biker conflicts can happen very quickly. In Banff National Park, biking is banned in known bear country. Mountain bikes are allowed only on the old, hardened fire roads. Where there is sensitive wildlife habitat, biking is not allowed.

I believe mountain biking should be banned from our wilderness parks due to the trashing of the local flora and damage. If this is impossible, trails should be properly and professionally designed and hardened to reduce the physical damage. Trail education is a must, as bikers should stay on designated trails only.

Perhaps some creative energy could go toward partnerships to find less ­ecologically sensitive land for mountain bikers in the Capital Regional District and satisfy all sides.

Douglas White, retired tourism consultant

Please take the long way home

To those of you using Cordova Bay Road as a shortcut from Royal Oak to Sayward and beyond, you are learning that it is no longer a shortcut, so please choose another route and stay there.

The huge Haro condominium project in the centre of Cordova Bay has our road (cowtrail), cut down to one-way traffic, resulting in long delays, so please use another route.

A recent story concerning the proposed distribution centre for the Sidney area made reference to Sidney council requiring the developer to provide traffic-impact details on the area being developed.

This is exactly what the Saanich council did not do, leaving the residents of Cordova Bay with a traffic nightmare, with the worst yet to come.

It’s an example of a tax-greedy Saanich council ignoring the respect and concern it should have for its citizens.

With the Haro project underway and at least three others coming next, Cordova Bay Road cannot be used as a traffic shortcut any longer. On behalf of its residents, please find another way, for your own good and ours.

Jim Laing
Cordova Bay

Politicians responsible for mental health outcome

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps has a flawed perspective regarding homelessnesss. She claims that “no one is to blame, and ­everyone is responsible.” This is an attempt to dodge responsibility by spreading the blame so widely that it effectively means that no one is responsible.

Our politicians are to blame. They are responsible. They have been and continue to mishandle the problem they largely created themselves.

I was an ambulance paramedic from 1975 to 1992. We, the police, the fire, the emergency room staff, social workers and the families and friends of the displaced patients knew within weeks of the mental hospital closures that it was a disaster.

We weren’t quiet, but nothing was done because the politicians assured people that arrangements would be made.

It was a couple of decades later that then premier Gordon Campbell conceded, to some hullabaloo, that the project was a failure. Nearly two decades later, it’s still a failure and you can imagine how people like me react to the wishy-washy mea culpa of Helps.

The solutions enacted by the mayor and the provincial government unfairly target the taxpayers, ­businesses and other citizens of Victoria by ­concentrating the problem here with an obviously flawed approach that I fear will prove as disastrous as the initial decision.

Kevin Galichon

Sunshine growing on our lawns

Re: “How can we control all those weeds,” letter, April 27.

With Mother’s Day approaching, l remember, every year, this little incident, a long time ago. I am a sun-bunny and will even cross the street to walk on the sunny side.

On Mother’s Day morning, my little four-year-old son came in from the yard, in Saskatchewan, clutching a bunch of brilliant yellow dandelions in his little fist. Proudly presenting them to me, he said: “Look Mommy, sunshine.”

How can anyone call them “all those weeds”?

Heidi Lamb


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