Where did you get your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine?
There’s a growing buzz building at pharmacies and immunization clinics across Greater Victoria as the light marking the end of the pandemic is getting a lot brighter. I must admit, getting vaccinated was a profound moment for me. There was a hum of anticipation among those waiting their turn, a feeling of community and doing your part. Some were even welling up with tears knowing they would soon get their much anticipated vaccination — and from seeing the joy on the faces of those who had their shot and were heading out into the sunshine.
The better days we’ve been working so hard for are a little more tangible now. BC’s immunization plan is rolling out faster than anticipated, and it’s looking like we will have our summer of safe celebration. That’s been the experience of other jurisdictions that are farther along in getting people vaccinated. The United Kingdom, for example, had record numbers of new COVID cases in January but is now down to a handful after half the population had their first dose. Deaths and hospitalizations also dropped and there’s a sense of revitalization among people finally able to get their social lives back.
After a slow start, Canada has shifted into a higher gear. The supply of vaccines continues to ramp up and the expectation is all Canadians will have a chance to experience the joy of getting their first dose by July 1. The only cloud threatening our return to the sun is vaccine hesitancy. We’ve seen examples of that in some jurisdictions where citizens lack clear channels of information. Let’s not let that happen here.
At The Chamber, we’re doing our part by asking business and community leaders to post photos of themselves with their proof of vaccination. We call them #ChamberChangeMakers and hope all of you do the same and promote your newly vaccinated status when it’s your turn. The campaign is working. It’s building trust in the process and creating excitement and awareness that we really can put the past behind us.
Businesses have been leaders throughout the pandemic and will lead the way out as we transition to fundamentally sound economic growth. All indicators suggest that pent up demand, months of unspent savings and new job opportunities will be a boon for business. Government has begun planning to carefully turn down the taps of public spending as the private sector ramps up. There is a lot to be excited about in the months and years ahead.
Vaccination is what will get us there. So, again, please be a change maker. Book your appointment as soon as possible and encourage others to do the same.
Years from now, when we look back at our pandemic experience, I know you’ll remember the moment you felt the joy of being part of the solution — and we’ll all think a little less about the long months it’s taken to get us here.
Bruce Williams is CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce