EDITORIAL: Warnings, not health scares

With words like “alert” “scare” and “warning” thrown about Greater Victorians were told of a potential health hazard this week.

With words like “alert” “scare” and “warning” thrown about Greater Victorians were told of a potential health hazard this week.

Any health issue, of course, must be taken seriously, but when the media get involved, even the risk of a potential threat gets the full-court press.

That’s not to say we’re all alarmists. The Vancouver Island Health Authority has a duty to report a threat to public health no matter how small, to help prevent the spread of the disease. It’s the medias job to help get the word out.

So when an employee at a local deli was diagnosed with Hepatitis A, a press release was sent to the media to help inform the public of a free immunization clinic set up by VIHA.

And the public reacted – in droves. The number of folks that turned up for vaccinations was in the thousands – surely more than the number of people potentially at risk of infection.

The free clinic run by VIHA on Sunday had to turn away 200 people because it had run out of vaccine.  The health authority was forced to schedule an additional two days of free immunizations. The vaccine is effective if you receive it within 14 days of exposure.

The risk of catching the illness is remote and limited to those who came in contact with contaminated food. There is no indication that any food was contaminated in the first place.

The immunization clinic is a standard precautionary measure taken by the health authority. There is  no reason to panic.

There will always be a concern if there is an outbreak of an infectious disease, but we don’t need mass inoculations unless the health authority tells us otherwise.

The majority of people who get hepatitis A recover in about a month. In rare instances, it can be severe enough to cause death. People with a history of chronic liver disease are more likely to become severely ill. Once a person has recovered from hepatitis A they can’t get the infection again.

There are usually less than two reported cases of Hepatitis A per 100,000 people in B.C. each year – that’s fewer than 50 cases. Only one in five or six people actually become ill enough to need medical attention.

Credit must go to Fairway Market and their customers who seem to be taking the incident in stride – more so than some who spent their week lining up for a vaccine they didn’t necessarily need.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read