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PODCAST: COVID, flu update with Dr. Reka Gustafson

TODAY IN B.C.: Health officer addresses common myths, evolving nature of pandemic

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Host Peter McCully chats with Dr. Reka Gustafson, chief medical health officer for Vancouver Island, about various aspects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its implications.

Gustafson emphasizes the unique opportunity the pandemic has provided to closely observe the adaptation of a transmittable respiratory virus in an age of advanced genetic and laboratory analysis.

“One of the interesting things about this pandemic is that it gave us for the first time the ability to look at a generally transmittable respiratory virus in the age of advanced genetic analysis, advanced laboratory analysis and essentially watch it adapt to us and us adapt to it,” said Gustafson.

The podcast delves into the importance of immunization as the most effective way to reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections. It also discusses the routine infection control measures to prevent transmission.

Gustafson explains vaccination recommendations, emphasizing vaccines should be offered to various high-risk groups, including the elderly, individuals in long-term care facilities and those with underlying medical conditions.

“The COVID vaccination is particularly important for these individuals, but available for anybody and recommended generally six months after your last infection or vaccine.”

Dr. Gustafson addresses common misconceptions about COVID-19, including the notion the virus hasn’t changed and highlights the importance of understanding the evolving nature of the virus.

“I think the biggest misconception that I still see is maybe the lack of appreciation of how much things have changed,” said Gustafson. “We can really now think of this virus as other viruses that circulate in our population that some people need to pay particular attention to and for which we have an effective vaccine that can reduce our likelihood of serious illness.”

The podcast reflects on the lessons learned from the pandemic, emphasizing the need for a measured approach to risk and the challenge of addressing societal impacts.

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Peter McCully

About the Author: Peter McCully

Peter has been a broadcaster and publisher on both of Canada’s coasts and has owned a small newspaper and run an advertising agency along the way.
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