The Ambulance Station in Barriere.  (Jill Hayward photo)

Paramedic says “out of service” due to vaccine mandate

To the editor;

Your story about the infant who died due to a lack of paramedic support truly saddened my heart for a number of reasons. I am a licensed PCP paramedic and I live in Barriere, but cannot work due to the Provincial Health Officer’s (PHO) continued adherence to a mandate that took hundreds of paramedics “out of service” back in November.

I served in the communities of Lytton and Lillooet for over seven years as an Emergency Medical Responder, but wanted to advance my skill level, so I could do more to help my patients. In September 2021 I licensed as a Primary Care Paramedic. On Nov. 15, 2021, I was terminated, along with approximately 200 paramedics who chose not to be vaccinated, despite having worked through the peak of COVID-19 without getting COVID-19 by simply following the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines, which kept thousands of paramedics, doctors, and nurses safe, when no vaccines were available.

My question is, why are we as a province sticking to a mandate that has no evidence to support it, while evidence against it is hard to ignore. Vaccination is proving to be a disaster for many people, while the unvaccinated continue to be marginalized.

I did get COVID in September 2021, not from my ambulance work though. It lasted two weeks and I fully recovered, following an early treatment protocol. I tested positive for COVID again in April, but had no symptoms at all. My antibody count was strong, so I know my immune system was doing it’s job.

I, along with 100-200 paramedics would be more than happy and willing to come back and fill shifts. I live in Barriere and would take a shift tomorrow if the unscientific mandate was repealed. Our rural communities desperately need support, people are dying every week from a lack of service in their areas. At the moment, the PHO’S continued adherence to the mandate appears to be killing more people than COVID-19!

Troy Clifford will say to the people of B.C. that there is a shortage of paramedics and they are hiring, but he, nor the PHO, will acknowledge that there are hundreds of paramedics who have been sidelined and would come back to work in an instant. That is something that people don’t hear or know about. These recent deaths in Ashcroft, Barriere, and other rural communities did not need to happen.

At this point there isn’t really a lack of paramedics, but there is a lack of integrity in the highest levels of our government.

Michael Dunbar

Barriere, B.C.

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BC HealthDistrict of BarriereNorth Thompson Valley