Dr. Benjamin How is one of the doctors with the Victoria Division of Family Practise who recorded a series of videos on Youtube and Facebook to combat vaccine hesitancy. (Youtube screenshot)

Dr. Benjamin How is one of the doctors with the Victoria Division of Family Practise who recorded a series of videos on Youtube and Facebook to combat vaccine hesitancy. (Youtube screenshot)

Vancouver Island doctors tackle vaccine misinformation through social media

Four videos on Youtube and Facebook have been posted to combat vaccine hesitancy in the region

A group of Vancouver Island doctors has taken to social media to help people fell more comfortable about getting vaccines.

The Victoria Division of Family Practice is addressing common community concerns surrounding COVID-19 through a series of videos on Youtube and Facebook.

“Vaccine hesitancy is a real concern in spite of the good progress with the vaccine rollout,” said Victoria family doctor Aaron Childs. According to StatsCan, 18.6 per cent of British Columbians did not report willingness to take a COVID vaccine as of March. The culprit is misinformation, Childs said.

READ ALSO: Island doctors offer advice on COVID-19: What to do, who to see, how to prevent the spread

Likewise, videos posted to the division’s Youtube and Facebook pages address frequently queried topics from the monumental speed of COVID vaccine development to exactly why health-care professionals are putting their trust in Canada’s inoculation programs.

“There is no benefit in waiting,” said Dr. Kathy Dabrus regarding those depending on alternative methods for community inoculation, such as herd immunity. “The risks of the virus are significant, and far outweigh the possibility of serious side effects from any COVID vaccine. The virus will be around for years to come and by waiting you increase your risk,” she said.

Given the recent presence of the Delta COVID-19 variant on Vancouver Island, it’s “crucially important for everyone to get both their first and second dose as soon as possible,” Childs said. “Full vaccination will maximize protection against all strains and is our ticket to getting back to normal without setbacks.”

Dr. Benjamin How said that conversations with parents in particular revealed much skepticism behind the record development of COVID vaccines. “The fact is that vaccines approved in Canada are safe. The reason they could be developed so quickly is the unprecedented speed and volume of funding from several governments and the worldwide collaboration, which allowed for an accelerated process,” he said. “All the necessary steps were completed.”

The doctors urge anyone with questions or concerns regarding COVID vaccines to get in touch with a local family doctor for their answers to case-specific issues; how to vaccinate following a kidney transplant, for example.

Those without a family doctor are encouraged to visit the Pathways Medical Care Directory for information on local walk-in clinics and primary care centres where access to community physicians is available.

READ ALSO: LETTER: Family doctors reassure Greater Victoria patients they’re not a ‘bother’ amid pandemic


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