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As we look ahead to the New Year and the warmer months of Spring — a year that will see the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine — it feels like a year we face with a sense of cautious optimism. I don’t think I am the first person to say that I was more than happy to say goodbye to 2020, but 2021 won’t magically be a better year. It will take a renewed effort from all of us to continue the spirit of support, compassion, and charity that helped us endure 2020.

People have had to make some very tough decisions to keep their families and communities safe, and it is vital that British Columbians have access to the tools and information to make these decisions. As we look forward to a year that we all hope is one of recovery, it’s essential that we don’t fall behind other provinces when providing this info. It is a little concerning that B.C. already seems to have some pretty large gaps in two crucial aspects of our COVID recovery: our vaccine-rollout plan and public reporting of COVID data.

When it comes to reporting COVID data to the public, provinces like Alberta and Ontario are providing daily updates of detailed and granular data, giving their communities a much clearer picture of the current and ever-developing situation. Meanwhile here in B.C., our data seems to be more and more stagnant and incomplete by the day. it has been 24 days since B.C. last published a COVID-19 situation report— a report that was previously published weekly to provide a more in-depth look at COVID data and key trends.

The same can be said about our vaccine rollout plan. While other provinces have already provided clear plans and outlines as to who will be prioritized to receive the vaccine and when they can expect it, the NDP’s plan for vaccine distribution is so bare bones that it currently makes up a single page on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s webpage. This government is keeping thousands of our front-line workers and vulnerable British Columbians in the dark as to if they can expect to see the vaccine. 

To help echo British Columbians’ concerns, our caucus sent a letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix, calls for more detailed and publicly accessible COVID data. As we strive to move forward toward a vaccine and full recovery, it is the responsibility of government to provide the plan and data that will give them a clear picture of the path ahead so that we can make the informed decisions that will truly make 2021 the year of recovery.

By Dan Davies, MLA for Peace River North

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