Today’s coronavirus news: B.C. politicians join forces to push for higher vaccination rates – Toronto Star

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By Star staff and wire services

Fri., Oct. 8, 20212 min. read

Article was updated 12 mins ago

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

6:01 a.m.: Politicians accustomed to sparring in British Columbia’s legislature have joined forces outside the house to push for higher vaccination rates in the north, but a longtime member of the Opposition Liberals says the “Alberta influence” is a factor in a part of B.C. where intensive care units can’t accommodate the influx of COVID-19 patients.

Mike Bernier said proximity to neighbouring Alberta “set us back from day one” when it comes to some northern residents shunning vaccination.

“It would be the Alberta influence. A good portion of people in Dawson Creek, Pouce Coupe, the Fort St. John area, are very closely related, whether it be for personal reasons or through work, with Alberta,” he said. “And we’ve seen the problems in Alberta with a solid message of trying to get people vaccinated until just recently, and the crisis that they’re in.”

Bernier said some were so angry when B.C. introduced vaccine passports that they posted online messages about shooting him for supporting the policy.

Most residents in the B.C. region aren’t anti-vaxxers, Bernier said. “They’re strong willed and do not like government intervention. They just want to work and raise their families and are very skeptical of government officials in general telling them what to do.”

Friday 5:58 a.m.: The vaccines were supposed to be the ticket out of the pandemic. But in Singapore, things did not go according to plan.

The Southeast Asian city-state was widely considered a success story in its initial handling of the coronavirus. It closed its borders, tested and traced aggressively and was one of the first countries in Asia to order vaccines.

A top politician told the public that an 80% vaccination rate was the criterion for a phased reopening. Singapore has now fully inoculated 83% of its population, but instead of opening up, it is doing quite the opposite.

In September, with cases doubling every eight to 10 days, the government reinstated restrictions on gatherings. The United States said its citizens should reconsider travel to the country. Long lines started forming at the emergency departments in several hospitals. People were told once again they should work from home.

The country’s experience has become a sobering case study for other nations pursuing reopening strategies without having had to deal with large outbreaks in the pandemic. For the Singapore residents who believed the city-state would reopen once the vaccination rate reached a certain level, there was a feeling of whiplash and nagging questions about what it would take to reopen if vaccines were not enough.

Read Thursday’s coronavirus news.