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“Protect Our Province BC” launches to provide evidence-based COVID-19 briefings to British Columbians

Scientists, doctors, nurses, policy experts, and advocates concerned about the lack of science-informed public health guidance and measures.

A new organization -- Protect Our Province BC -- will provide regular COVID-19 scientific briefings in order to address the government’s worrisome lack of  science-informed pandemic response in British Columbia. 

The first briefing will be held on Wednesday, October 20 at 12pm.

The organization was established by a group of non-partisan health professionals, scientists, policy analysts, and community organizers volunteering their time out of a growing concern that BC’s pandemic response is failing to embrace transparency, and the best-available evidence. We are concerned that the key recommendation of the SARS inquiries has been forgotten: governments must adopt the “precautionary principle” when faced with novel infectious agents. 

The BC government and public health officials refuse to acknowledge the scientific consensus around a key feature of SARS-CoV-2, agreed upon in national and international published, peer-reviewed research. That key feature is the fact that the virus is predominantly spread via  aerosol (airborne)  transmission. In order to protect people in BC against COVID-19 as an airborne pathogen, we need to enact several measures:  effective ventilation and air purification; the wide-spread use of well-fitting high-quality masks;  easy-to-access rapid testing; as well as  effective contact tracing, and exposure notifications. All of these proposals respond to the fundamental challenge of COVID-19:  aerosol transmission. 

“There is a critical need for an unfiltered, honest assessment of the state of the pandemic in BC,” says co-founder and family physician Dr. Karina Zeidler. “We are now 20 months into the pandemic and our government continues to downplay and ignore important scientific evidence, including consensus that COVID-19 is primarily spread through the air. BC’s refusal to accept the science and educate the public on such basic matters, means that we are never going to be able to put an end to the devastating effects COVID-19 continues to have on the health and well being of people in our society.” 

This new initiative will provide people in BC with access to COVID-19 briefings based on the expertise of a diversity of health professionals, scientists, policy experts, and people with lived experience of COVID-19. 

“Currently,  BC residents are not receiving science-based guidance on many issues like airborne spread, high-quality masks, ventilation, and rapid testing,” says co-founder and education advocate Jennifer Heighton. “We hope that this initiative -- like its counterpart in Alberta -- will provide people in BC with access to COVID-19 science and evidence-based measures that can help us aggressively reduce COVID-19 infection and transmission.”

The first briefing will review the science on aerosol (airborne) transmission, and the implications for health care, school, and workplace settings. Speakers will include:

  • Dr. Karina Zeidler, Family Physician and Steering Committee Member, ProtectBC.ca
  • Dr. Victor Leung, Infectious Diseases Physician and Medical Microbiologist
  • Michelle Naef, Professional Engineer and PhD candidate at the University of Alberta in the David and Joan Lynch School of Engineering Safety and Risk Management. 
  • Facilitated by Dr. Amy Tan, Family Physician and Palliative Care Physician.

Subsequent briefings will be scheduled with dates to be announced. Briefings will include both analysis on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in BC and expert presentations on a variety of pandemic-related topics.

For interview requests or questions, please contact: contact@protectbc.ca.

About October 20th briefing: 

Date and time: October 20, 12-1pm 

Public Live stream: https://protectbc.ca/livestream

Archived Briefings from Protect Our Province BC

A Protect Our Province BC panel discussion about how we as a community, can pull together to create a safer learning environment for kids when school starts again in September! We can avoid another ‘tripledemic’ if we work together! Ready for Fall 2023? Briefing video:
“COVID-19 vaccination is safe during pregnancy and may protect newborns from infection, especially if vaccines are given in the second or third trimester. This is similar to what we are already doing with other maternal vaccines, including TDaP and seasonal influenza.” – Dr. Eastabrook
“If we had an epidemic of people with broken limbs and we saw people in plasters and crutches, it would be more evident. But there is a lot of disability that is happening, which is a hidden disability often, which is why we need to talk about it more, for people to understand what the consequences are. And that will help to make better decisions.” - Lynette

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