A Vancouver doctor is using the power of social media to encourage people to get vaccinated as coronavirus cases continue to surge across B.C.
Health officials have reported the highest new daily cases of COVID-19 since May, as the Delta variant drives the fourth wave in the province.
Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters in a briefing on Sept. 9 that new data shows that the most serious COVID-19 infections in B.C. are among those who are not yet vaccinated, and that these serious illnesses can occur at any age.
Now, a Vancouver-based doctor who works in the emergency room is pleading with locals to get vaccinated as soon as possible as hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Jeff Yoo, who uses the handle @drjeffclimbs on Instagram, typically shares impressive videos of himself scaling the side of natural rock faces and in climbing gyms. However, the Vancouver doctor has a grave message for locals in one of his most recent videos.
"Over the past 19 months I've seen countless patients infected with COVID-19," he states. "We are currently battling the Delta variant in the fourth wave and almost every patient I've treated has been not vaccinated.
"It's soul-crushing to see so many young people get seriously ill with a disease that could have been preventable if they'd just gotten the vaccine."
The doctor goes on to ask how people can question why health care workers are burned out and exhausted. He adds that he hasn't treated anyone with serious side effects from getting the vaccine, either.
"Let's get this pandemic behind us so we can celebrate and party."
"Please, all, get vaccinated."
CJ Torralba, a nurse who works in intensive care and enjoys rock climbing, responded to the Vancouver doctor's message by commenting that the fourth wave has hit Victoria's "health care system harder than anything up to this point in the pandemic."
With hospitals reaching at or beyond capacity, the staff have been accommodating patient transfers from other health authorities, he explains.
"From all healthcare workers during this critical time: Please, all, get vaccinated."
Provincial figures show that 85.3% of British Columbians eligible to be vaccinated, and older than 12 years, have had one dose of vaccine, and 77.8% of that population is fully vaccinated.
Of the 3,955,624 B.C. residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine, more than 91.2%, or 3,608,067 are fully vaccinated.
The B.C. government estimated in July that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so Glacier Media's calculation is that 76.8% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 70% of the province's total population has had two doses.
With files from Glen Korstrom