Langley Advance Times is offering this weekly feature called “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley School Board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online Sundays.
Langley MLAs were asked:
If COVID-19 vaccinations are mandatory for health-care workers, should flu shots also be made mandatory for those workers – to protect critically ill and elderly patients and care home residents in B.C.?
Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman
A. In 2019, the provincial health services authority made revisions to the Influenza Prevention Policy.
While visitors and health-care workers are not required to be vaccinated against influenza, the PHSA has enacted a collaborative approach where influenza vaccines are not mandatory but employees are expected to get vaccinated or wear a mask because it is the best practice for preventing the spread of influenza.
Reporting of vaccination status remains mandatory.
I encourage health-care workers to be vaccinated against influenza, as the annual vaccine remains an effective way to prevent the spread of influenza among staff and patients/clients/residents.
However, any changes to the current influenza prevention policy rests entirely with the provincial health services authority and the BC Nurses Union.
Abbotsford West MLA Michael de Jong
A. Concerning matters like this, we should be guided by the science – which at this point suggests one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of influenza is to be vaccinated.
Ensuring that this information is readily available will hopefully assist staff, residents, and visitors in long-term care facilities in making their decision.
Langley-East MLA Megan Dykeman
Vaccines to protect against influenza viruses were first developed at the end of the Second World War and have evolved over the years to address the changing nature of the viruses responsible for seasonal influenzas.
Our province has an influenza prevention policy in place for the health-care sector to prevent the spread of influenza among workers and patients.
Through the influenza self-reporting system staff from provincial health authorities are required to report their vaccination status. We rely on the professionalism of all health-care workers to take appropriate measures to protect themselves and the vulnerable patients they care for from influenza.
With respect to SARS CoV 2 (COVID-19), our government is implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for health-care workers and visitors in our public health-care facilities in order to further limit outbreaks.
Langley MLA Andrew Mercier
A. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were familiar with the “ritual” of getting the flu shot as a preventive measure against the seasonal influenza.
After coping through the pandemic for more than 19 months, we are all tired and frustrated that the highly transmissible Delta variant and a number of variants of interest of the COVID-19 are still circulating in our communities.
That’s why it is encouraging to know that almost 89 per cent of British Columbians have chosen to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to this date to protect ourselves and our loved ones, as well as to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
What we have learned from our shared experience of living with a communicable diseases is that whether it is the COVID-19 vaccines or the flu shot, vaccine is an effective tool to stop a preventable virus from gaining strength and causing unnecessary deaths and/or severe illness that lead to hospitalization.
Therefore, I encourage everyone from all walks to learn more about why and how vaccines work from the BC Government website at https://immunizebc.ca/influenza.
Next week we would a question to the Langley MPs. They’ve been asked: “How can the federal government reduce housing prices without damaging the finances of longtime homeowners whose houses are part of their retirement plans?”
Watch for the politicians’ answers online Sundays.