Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry poses with Nisha Yunus, who has been a residential care aide with Vancouver Coastal Health for 41 years. Yunus was one of the first health-care workers in B.C. to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (BC Government photo)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry poses with Nisha Yunus, who has been a residential care aide with Vancouver Coastal Health for 41 years. Yunus was one of the first health-care workers in B.C. to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (BC Government photo)

Our View: A vaccine, and brighter days

The vaccination program will begin to pay dividends in the new year

This Christmas is certainly going to be different – quiet and small-scale, and in many cases we’re deferring some celebrations and get togethers.

On the other hand, it’s also the start of a season of hope.

Regardless of your personal reason for the season, we can all thrill to the roll out of the first vaccines last week across Metro Vancouver.

By Christmas Day, thousands of people, mostly frontline health care workers and care aids, will have received their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccines.

And just in time, as an extra Christmas present, we’re expecting more shipments of a vaccine every week through the month and into January, across Canada.

The numbers of people being vaccinated right now are hard to take in – they’re both large – as hundreds or thousands of people are being vaccinated daily – and small, as we have to ramp up those numbers drastically to provide broad coverage to everyone who wants a shot during the next several months.

But it’s a start. Every shot, every increase in immunity, provides a new, small measure of protection for our seniors and hospital patients.

Increases in protection will mean a decrease in outbreaks in health care and seniors facilities. We’ll see fewer deaths in the coming months.

Eventually, once we’ve vaccinated our most vulnerable populations and have started mass-vaccination of the general population, we’ll be able to start reducing the restrictions that we’ve been living under since last March.

This week sees both Christmas and the darkest day of the year, on the winter solstice on Dec. 21.

From here on, things get brighter. Every day, there’ll be a little more light, and every day, we’ll be a little closer to putting the worst of the pandemic behind us.

– M.C.

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