It defies belief that for a full year, Health Minister Adrian Dix did nothing to assure that the people of British Columbia would have an efficient, reliable vaccination booking system. Instead, he left it to individual health authorities to devise their own systems, with catastrophic results. That only one of the five regional health agencies even had an online booking platform in place for the rollout suggests a serious failure of leadership for which Dix must be held
Predictably, both Dix and Premier Horgan have sought to downplay and shift the blame for the government’s failure. Horgan muddies the waters by saying the province was not prepared for the 1.7 million calls within the first three hours of booking. Even if all 54,000 people eligible for the current round attempted to book by phone in that period, that translates to over 30 calls per person. Horgan might more truthfully have said that his government was unprepared for thousands of callers rather than millions of calls.
For his part, Dix wants us to know that fault lies with Telus for understaffing the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) phone platform. Yes, VCH fared the worst, but there were problems elsewhere. Only Fraser Health – the one health authority with online booking – had a truly successful start. Had Dix wanted, such a system could have been in place province-wide months earlier.
The BC pandemic began with outbreaks at long-term care centres that might have been greatly reduced had the government already taken action on longstanding staffing problems at privately owned facilities. Seniors and their families suffered then and are once again bearing the brunt of the government’s failure to exercise leadership. Our vulnerable seniors deserve better care than Dix seems willing to provide.
Ian McLatchie, Davis Ba