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Rural care is focus for medical Rising Star Christine HINZMANN Gateway staff

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Caitlin Brewett, a second-year student, is the Rising Star of the Northern Medical Program at UNBC for her extensive work in rural communities.

aitlin Blewett, a secondyear student in the university’s Northern Medical Program, is the recipient of the Rising Star of Health Service award which recognizes outstanding contributions made to health care in the north. Blewett, who grew up in Vancouver, moved to Haida Gwaii to take a three-month post graduate course and knew almost immediately it was the place she wanted to call home. As a public health masters graduate, Blewett stayed on the remote island for seven years developing programs focusing on child/youth mental health and substance use, wellness forums, and working with elders to improve quality of life for Indigenous communities while serving

on the Haida Gwaii Islands Wellness Society. “We talked specifically a lot around mental health services and what that could look like and also a lot about elder care – about aging in place and elder healthcare services and social services relevant and local to save families and the sick people from all of the hassle, which is not a strong enough word – of accessing health services off-island and that work was specifically for Haida Gwaii,” Blewett said, who has done extensive work in mainland rural communities as well. Blewett feels a strong connection to Haida Gwaii. “The people I met just threw open arms out to anything you wanted to do and anything you were interested in being a part of,” she said. — see ‘I HAVE, page 3


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‘I have become very passionate B.C. forests a landscape of about rural health services’ pests, not just pine beetles — from page 1 “Within the first month, I had joined the fire department. They’re just so excited to have people with energy and excitement who want to live in the community and who want to make it work,” Blewett said. “I think this kind of attitude is a large part of what keeps me in Northern B.C., and what makes me want to live and work here for the rest of my life. “I definitely applied to medicine in hopes of pursuing rural family practice.” With five years of schooling left to go, Blewett said she specifically asked to be part of the Northern Medical Program at UNBC when given the choice of campuses from the program that is an extension

of the University of B.C. medical program. “When I graduate, I will be 40 and I would love to go home and get to practice there,” she said about Haida Gwaii. Blewett said it was a nice surprise when she heard she had been designated as Rising Star, which includes a $5,000 award. “The money made a short pit stop in my account,” Blewett said. And then it went straight to tuition. The award is provided through the Northern Medical Programs Trust, established in 2002 to help support a healthcare student’s education and recruitment initiatives in the North. “I have become very passionate about rural health services,”

Blewett said. It’s about what kind of services a rural community needs and how to get those services in town rather than having to fly to Vancouver or take an eight-hour ferry to Prince Rupert, Blewett gave as an example. She said time spent at the BC Rural Health Conference held in the spring just confirmed her continued interest in rural medicine and healthcare improvement. “Connecting with rural family doctors at the conference who have been doing this for so long and just getting to see how much they can change the work that they are doing, both to suit their communities and to suit what they and their families need, it’s really heartening,” Blewett said.

Derrick PENNER Vancouver Sun

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hile British Columbia’s timber industry is occupied with the mountain-pinebeetle infestation’s aftermath, forest managers haven’t lost sight of other pest problems looming among the trees in a changing climate. News this summer has been dominated by mill closures and production cuts as companies adjust to timber supplies depleted by the unprecedented infestation that killed off pine trees in up to 18,000 square kilometres of forests.

At the same time, the province is closely watching an outbreak of spruce beetles chewing through trees across hundreds of square kilometres of forests to the north and east, Douglas fir beetles are wreaking havoc in Cariboo forests around Williams Lake and 100 Mile House along with other pests such as the spruce bud worm. “We wouldn’t expect (the spruce beetle infestation) to be at the same scale as the mountain pine beetle,” said entomologist Jeanne Robert. “That said, this is a large outbreak, so we are going to keep monitoring it very carefully.” — see ‘THIS IS, page 4

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‘This is actually how ecosystems have evolved’

Citizen file photo

A pine beetle egg is found on a tree at Bryant Park in Prince George in 2003.

— from page 3 Robert added that scientists believe the spruce-beetle infestation peaked in 2017 when it spread across 3,420 square kilometres of northern-interior forests. In 2018, the spread was smaller at about 2,420 square kilometres. The estimate for 2019 won’t be complete until November, she said. Aerial surveys are the province’s front-line tool for keeping tabs on all things related to forest health, said Robert, regional entomologist for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in the Omenica and North East region. That includes all bark beetles, such as the mountain pine, spruce, Douglas fir and western balsam beetles – all close relatives – and are all natural disturbances in forest ecosystems, Robert said, so

she cautioned that it is difficult to characterize the outbreaks “as all bad.” In smaller-scale outbreaks, bark beetles attack the oldest and sickest trees first, Robert said, which helps open gaps in forest cover to allow for new trees to grow and increase a forest’s diversity of species. “This is actually how ecosystems have evolved into what we see today (in B.C. forests),” Robert said, “which is very useful for humans.” It is a combination of factors, however, ranging from insects to forest fires that forest managers, First Nations and timber companies need to worry about, said Allan Carroll, director of the forest science program in the University of B.C.’s department of forest and conservation sciences and a professor in insect ecology. — see ‘WE HAVE ALL, page 5


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‘We have all the tools needed to manage (the beetles)’ — from page 4 “But the one big bow that can be wrapped around all of this is the issue of a warming environment,” Carroll said. The mountain pine beetle, for instance, took hold so well and in areas it had never been before because interior forests rarely experience the deep winter cold snaps that normally kill the insects off, keeping them in check, Carroll said. Then the large number of dead trees left over from the infestations contributed to a buildup of fuels in forests for successive years of record forest fires. And fire-damaged trees became susceptible to pests such as the western spruce bud worm, which can weaken forest stands making them less resistant to more damaging threats, such as the Douglas fir beetle. “Forests and forest ecosystems are so super complex that things that happen at one

ers manage timber harvesting and silviculpoint in time can have an echo effect for ture to control, to the best of their ability, many, many years – decades — to come,” the impact of pest insects and how, by Carroll said. killing off trees, they In response, Carcan create the accuroll said scientists are Forests and forest mulation of fuels that learning that people ecosystems are so exacerbate wildfires, need to focus on how super complex that Carroll said. to re-establish resilForesters have had iency in forests, which things that happen at one successes though, Carwill require considerpoint in time can have an roll said. able patience. echo effect for many, many In Alberta, for That will include instance, authorities planting tree species years – decades — to come. “have applied stateand mixes of species — Allan Carroll of-the-art science” to of trees that are better isolating and slowing able to withstand the the spread of the mountain pine beetle after stresses of warmer, drier weather expected it crossed the Rocky Mountains in the mid in the future. “(But) the point at which it needs to resil- 2000s. Carroll added that if they can keep that ient is not going to be in our lifetimes, it’s a effort up, evidence suggests the populalong-term prospect,” Carroll said. tion of beetles will crash before they spread Shorter-term fixes will be in how forest-

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into Canada’s vast tract of northern boreal forests. Then in B.C., scientists are using the latest developments in pheromone science to tackle the spread of the Douglas fir beetle. “Again, we have all the tools needed to manage (the beetles),” Carroll said. So the forest ecologist remains hopeful, though his students sometimes call him Dr. Gloom, and his hope lies in the potential of those students to affect the change needed to make forests more dynamic and resilient. That means viewing forests not just for the timber they provide for industry but managing them to provide clean water, the sequestration of carbon and the biodiversity that humans need to build healthy ecosystems. “We don’t have that luxury of treating our forests as these static portfolios of timber as we have done so in the past,” Carroll said.


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Alex Cuba sublime on new record Stuart DERDEYN Vancouver Sun

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even albums in, Alex Cuba has upped his game again with Sublime. To appreciate that statement, you should consider the Smithersbased singer/songwriter has already racked up four Latin Grammy Awards and two Grammy nominations for the best Latin pop album. No surprise the legendary Cuban vocalist Omara Portuondo (Buena Vista Social Club) and rising star Silvana Estrada make appearances on the John (Beetle) Bailey-engineered record. They are the only other performers on the album recorded in Canada, Mexico, Cuba and Spain. Cuba handles every other instrumental duty on the disc and he’s never sounded better. As he readies for an extensive round of touring across North America and elsewhere, the musician discussed the realities of breaking into markets where his music is more readily consumed.

As an almost entirely Spanish language artist, his fame is far greater outside of this country than in it. He’s fine with that. “Mexico has emerged as quite the place for me in the past few years,” said Cuba. “According to streams on Spotify and other sites, it is the place that listens to me the most and we are, obviously, paying attention to that. It’s the kind of place you can find any kind of music really and where they are quite open to a lot of variety in the music.” That’s a good fit for the artist whose work can best be described as pop/rock. Owing to his understanding of Latin American genres ranging from bolero and bachata to rancheros to son, Cuba has always worked elements of these forms into his hook-laden material. But there are considerable influences drawn from classic pop tunesmiths like the Beatles or funk masters like Stevie Wonder turning up in gems such as his hit Directo. — see ‘I HAD A LOT, page 7

Gateway file photo

Alex Cuba played the BCLC Mainstage in Canada Games Plaza during the 2015 Canada Winter Games.


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‘I had a lot of time to myself to think about things’ — from page 6 On Sublime, he opens with a complex rhythmic romp titled Yo No Se that could have been on an early Brazilian Tropicalismo release by Caetano Veloso or Gilberto Gil. The artist loves the comparison, noting he still listens to a lot of recordings from that era because they are “so real, so honest, the music is pure and it keeps it sounding alive.” That he can write something that hearkens back to that creative hubbub is impressive. That the opening song on Sublime was an instant recording is amazing. “Yo No Se was the last song on the album, written on the spot on the last day in the studio, which came from a bass line I was jamming and loved and knew I had to use,” he said. “So I was writing the lyrics while I was playing all the different parts, shouting them out and we were both rolling on the floor by the end of it blown away by the results. Essentially, the concept of the song became was Alex Cuba rehearsing with

Alex Cuba, so I made this video for it that has me, in colour, and a bunch of black and white Alex Cubas playing the song.” The track sets the vibe for Sublime and it’s spot on for the collection of a dozen songs ranging from the tender lead single Voz De Corazones to the easy flowing duet Solo Mia with Mexican star Leonel Garcia. Dominican star Alex Ferreira and Cuban musicians Kelvis Ochoa and Pablo Milanes also appear on the album. For those in the know, this lineup along with Portuondo and Estrada demonstrates the kind of pull that Cuba has in the upper levels of Spanish language stars. People want to perform his songs. “I grew up listening to people like Pablo Milanes, who is the Cuban Bob Dylan, and Omara and others and really wrote the songs that they appear on with their spirit in mind, because their work really shaped my writing,” he said. “And when I decided to go to the next level and see if they would honour me by appearing, I was really taken aback that

they knew who I was and knew my work and said yes. Canada may not be the best place for putting my music forward, but the reason that my music is fresh and different is because it comes from Canada.” Sublime holds a special spot in Cuba’s heart as it is the record, he believes, that took him back home to his birth country of Cuba and reflects the journey he’s taken to where he is today. The musician originally hails from Artemesia, Cuba, and both he and his brother, Adonis, were schooled in music by their guitar-playing music teacher father from a young age. Alex and Adonis settled in Victoria in 1989 after Alex married a Canadian he met in Cuba. The Puentes Brothers duo released a Juno-nominated debut, eventually deciding on solo careers around the early 2000s. Alex moved to his wife’s hometown of Smithers in 2003 and has run his career from the central B.C. town since. He said he can make music anywhere and finds the natural beauty and chill vibe

completely suited to crafting his, frankly, more tropical material. He is constantly jotting down ideas, melodies and more on his phone wherever he is and that process was used on Sublime. “I recorded this album in Gibsons with Garth Richardson, because Beetle Bailey said he had a great sounding room there,” said Cuba. “So I packed up all my toys – seven guitars, congas, a standup bass, bongos, shakers, triangles and more – into my car and drove down. It took two days and I had my computer connected to the stereo and the phone on voice memos. “I had a lot of time to myself to think about things like, ‘Oh, we need a handclap there and this would be a good place for more backing vocals.’ ” The ultimate goal is to give each song the right vibe and Cuba feels Sublime has it in large amounts. All the technological tricks in the world can’t fake it. If it’s there, you can make it happen anywhere.


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www.pgcitizen.ca | Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Northern wildfires pose global threat Jill Johnstone, Carissa Brown and Xanthe Walker The Conversation

T CP file photo

A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac, Alta., on May 4, 2016. As fires in the boreal forest increase in number and severity, they may shift from being carbon sinks to carbon sources, according to a group of researchers.

hese days, smoke-filled summer skies and dusky red sunsets are a common occurrence across Canada and the United States. Much of that smoke is coming from large northern wildfires. We have been working on the consequences of increasing boreal wildfires since 2004, when a huge swath (2.6 million hectares) of boreal forest burned in Alaska and the Yukon. It seemed, at the time, like an unusually large fire year. Since then, we have seen record breaking fire activity occur repeatedly across northern North America. Increasing fire activity in the boreal forest is consistent with projected responses to climate change. This means that individual forests are likely to burn more frequently then they have in the past hundreds, even thousands, of years. Our research on forest responses to large fires shows that an increasing frequency of fire leads to a cascading set of changes that may substantially alter the boreal forest as we know it. Boreal forests have acted as carbon sinks – they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in biological materials – for millennia. But our recent study of the 2014 fires in the Northwest Territories shows that some parts of the boreal

Boreal forests have acted as carbon sinks – they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in biological materials – for millennia. forest are becoming sources of atmospheric carbon, potentially contributing to the greenhouse effect. Recent estimates suggest that boreal forests store more carbon than is currently in the atmosphere, with most of that carbon found in soils. These pools of old soil carbon are contained in deeper soil layers and tend to stay wet. Historically, this has kept them safe from burning. However, our work in the Northwest Territories shows that when young forests (less than 60 years old) burn, this old carbon – stored in previous fire cycles – is closer to the surface, making it about five times more likely to burn. Increasing fire frequency thus makes boreal forests more likely to release stored legacy carbon back to the atmosphere. Frequent burning also affects tree regeneration after fire, changing the tree species that dominate the forest canopy and potentially shifting some forest stands to tundra or open woodlands. — see CHANGES TO, page 9


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Changes to boreal forest to effect local people, globe — from page 8 Our work on forest recovery after the large fire years of 2004-05 in Alaska and Yukon shows that black spruce, the most abundant tree in North America’s boreal forest, quickly loses its home court advantage when fires become too frequent. Black spruce is the quintessential slowgrowing northern tree. It doesn’t produce its first seed crop until it is about 25 years old and it needs 50-80 years to reach full reproductive maturity. Normally these spruce trees regenerate well after fire. They have the ability to “bank” seeds for the future by sealing them in cones. These cones open with fire and disperse many hundreds of seeds onto the landscape. However, when black spruce forests burn at an early age, a safe bank of cones has not yet developed and the absence of seeds reduces spruce regeneration success. In the

peoples for millenia. far North, repeat fires in black spruce forIncreases in fire that disrupt conifer ests can cause a shift from forest to tundra. forests and their lichen In warmer parts of the understory will likely boreal forest, spruce In the far North, repeat have negative impacts forests are replaced fires in black spruce forests on caribou populations with deciduous trees can cause a shift from and the people that like birch and aspen. When legacy carbon forest to tundra. In warmer depend on them. And once shifts from burns and black parts of the boreal forest, black spruce forests spruce regeneration spruce forests are replaced to aspen or tundra fails, one of the boreal forest’s most important with deciduous trees like occur, these forests are slow to return to ecosystem services, the birch and aspen. historic conditions, as long-term storage of the ingredients necesatmospheric carbon, is sary to regenerate the original forests are jeopardized. In addition to storing carbon, the boreal forest provides critical habitat for now missing: legacy carbon seedbeds and a wildlife species such as caribou that feed on source of black spruce seed. The impacts caused by a changing fire lichens in mature conifer stands. frequency can happen fast – loss of legacy Large herds of barren ground caribou carbon and shifts in tree species are trigthat overwinter in the boreal forest have gered by single fire events – and will likely been a traditional food source for northern

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dwarf other impacts of climate change on boreal forests, like drought stress or stimulation of plant growth with a warmer, carbon-rich atmosphere. Changes to boreal forests and their ecosystem services will impact the lifestyles and livelihoods of local people, as well as influence the future climate trajectory of our planet. As climate change intensifies and fire frequency continues to increase, we are likely to see a greater area of boreal forests shifting from carbon sinks to carbon sources and large declines in old growth conifers by the end of the 21st century. — Jill Johnstone is an adjunct professor of biology at the University of Saskatchewan, Carissa Brown is an associate professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Xanthe Walker is a postdoctoral research scientist at Northern Arizona University. This article first appeared in The Conversation.


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www.pgcitizen.ca | Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Calder named Rotary district governor Christine HINZMANN Gateway staff

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or more than 26 years, Lorne Calder has been a member of the Rotary Club of Prince George. He was recently named the 5040 District Governor Nominee and will serve his one-year term from July 2021 to June 2022. Rotary District 5040 includes 54 Rotary Clubs Prince George, Mackenzie, communities west to Prince Rupert, the Cariboo to 100 Mile House and Greater Vancouver. As a dedicated member of Rotary, he’s taken on every position there is as an opportunity to serve the community. “I was inducted in 1993 and I’ve been president, treasurer, sergeant-at-arms, and so I’ve done just about everything within the club,” Calder said. “I’ve also been assistant governor for the area for a three-year period, which is important because you get to know five different clubs and I have been actively engaged

Calder at the district level for a few years.” The mission of Rotary is to provide service to others, promote integrity and advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through its fellowship of business,

professional, and community leaders. To be designated as the district governor, there is an application process and Calder said he has applied for the position twice, knowing it takes time to get in line for it. There is a panel review and interview process. Calder knew in November that he was selected to serve as the 2021-2022 district governor. “It’s a big learning curve, there’s lots of training and leadership development that goes on so you can be successful in your one year,” said Calder, who was encouraged by many members of the three Rotary clubs in Prince George to pursue the role. There have been only two district governors in Prince George during the last 30 years. Neil King served in the late 1990s and Ron Neukomm served in the early 2000s. When Calder takes on his duties as district governor, he will be able to host the district conference in Prince George in 2022, which means there will be about

200 Rotary members in attendance. Usually conferences are about two and a half days and run Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday. District conferences feature inspirational speakers whose focus is leadership training and Rotary engagement as well as showcasing local Rotary clubs as vibrant organizations. “Sometimes we throw on another day in front of the conference for a day of golf, a fun event or project,” Calder said. Calder’s family is also involved with the club. While his wife, Sue, is not an official member, she is very involved and Calder’s oldest son, Christopher, is currently the treasurer of the club and both he and younger brother Jeffrey have been on youth exchanges. “We’ve been an active Rotary family for over 25 years,” Calder said. “It’s in our DNA now. Prince George is a volunteer town so that’s what we do.”


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Restriction leads to cravings

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estriction is a common trait of weight loss diets. While the restriction of carbohydrates, calories and portion sizes can lead to nutrient deficiencies, a weakened immune system and altered metabolism, intentional deprivation of certain foods can also have an effect on eating behaviours. A study recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics looked into the effect that restricting added sugars can have on behaviour. Added sugars can come in the form of sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup added to foods in processing, including sugar-sweetened beverages, store-bought baked goods, candy and sweetened cereal. The study included obese and normal weight men and women who routinely consumed over 10 per cent of their calories from added sugar. (The World Health Organization recommends no more that 10 per cent of an individual’s diet be comprised of added sugars.) The study found

Food for thought

Kelsey Leckovic

that restricting the participants’ intake of added sugar increased their desire to seek out those foods and increased how hard they were prepared to work to gain access to foods high in added sugars. In other words, the participants were told to consume less added sugar, they did so but then craved foods with added sugar even more. Although this is only one study, it’s the first to assess whether an imposed restriction on a certain food (foods high in added sugars) to promote a healthy diet, increases an individual’s drive to seek out that food. If you’ve tried to restrict your intake of any food or nutrient, the results of this study may sound familiar to you. — see CHANGING HABITS, page 12

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Changing habits takes time

Elizabeth Karmel photo via AP

Wheaten bread with sweet scotch whiskey butter is one tempting treat for people trying to abstain from bread.

— from page 11 Have you told yourself you can’t have bread? Or dessert? Or fast food? Then it’s all you can think about. Abruptly restricting your intake of certain foods may not be the most effective way of producing a change in habit. Also, if the change you’re making is not something that can be sustained for the rest of your life, you may want to consider a less aggressive approach. Changes in eating behaviours and habits take time and consideration beyond simply cutting out “problematic” foods. Evidence supports the recommendations of

eating meals with others, learning to enjoy your food, cooking more often and being mindful of eating habits. Being aware of when you’re hungry and full, is a useful, intuitive skill that can be developed over time. These recommendations may seem vague but that vagueness allows for less restriction and a sense of freedom in deciding what specific approach is right for you. Goals don’t need to be huge, allor-nothing standards. For example, if you want to start eating less meat, start with one meatless meal a week. Once that becomes doable, make it

two meals a week. If “eating less meat” is what you want to do, but you normally eat meat every day, going on a vegan diet may be a struggle. Taking baby steps towards a healthy diet and lifestyle is an approach that not only promotes healthy diets for the long term, but also allows you to feel less restricted and controlled by food. For more information on setting diet-related goals, go to www. unlockfood.ca and search “goals.” Kelsey Leckovic is a registered dietitian with Northern Health working in chronic disease management.


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Make sure children’s immunization records are up-to-date Gateway staff

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Rambo Islas, eight months, is held by his mother Maria Islas, as he gets a vaccine shot administered by RN Nicole Ives at the Dallas County Health & Human Services immunization clinic in Dallas.

s parents prepare their children for school with appropriate supplies, the province is reminding everyone about the importance of immunizing their

children. During this year’s global measles outbreak, the B.C. ministry of health immediately increased immunizations and collected immunization records for schoolaged children. Through this action the number of children on record as immunized increased by 37,525. The immunization catch-up program was launched in April and ended in June to ensure children were protected against measles. There were 1,053 in-school clinics and 3,584 public health clinics

held throughout the province. During the program, 590,748 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 had their records reviewed and parents of children whose records were not complete were notified. “The next vital step is implementing the mandatory reporting of the immunization status of school-aged students,” health minister Adrian Dix said. “Through this new requirement, we are making sure that our public health system is better prepared in the event of another outbreak in schools.” Most parents are in compliance with the mandatory requirement and before the end of this month parents will be able to check if their child’s record is complete by visiting the registry at immunizebc.ca. — see ‘I AM SO, page 14


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Ap file photo

Claire Jones, 12, receives five immunization shots from certified medical assistant Mary Ann Todd at St. Luke’s Magic Valley in Twin Falls, Idaho.

‘I am so proud of our response to the measles outbreak’ — from page 13 B.C. has a comprehensive provincial childhood immunization program, which includes coverage for a many diseases including measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, pertussis, polio, HPV, varicella, diphtheria, influenza, meningococcal disease and hepatitis. If parents don’t want to wait for the registry site they may contact their child’s immunization service provider. Along with public health and school clinics, parents can get their children immunized through a primary care provider or pharmacist. “I am so proud of our response to the measles outbreak,” Dix said. “I would like

to thank parents, educators and public health professionals for rallying in response to prevent the spread of measles. Our work continues. Beginning in fall 2019, all public, independent and home-schooled students from kindergarten to Grade 12 who are enrolled in B.C. schools in 2019-20 will be expected to have their current immunization status recorded in B.C.’s provincial immunization registry.” The new mandatory immunization reporting requirement increases the ability of public health to respond during an outbreak by quickly identifying those who are under-and unimmunized. It also encourages parents to ensure their child’s immunizations are up to date.


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