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An open letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry

Jody Vance: British Columbia is handling COVID-19 better than most, mostly thanks to our Provincial Health Officer.
Focus on evidence-based efforts needed to save lives
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (BC Government Flickr)

Dear Dr. Henry,

Can I call you Dr. Bonnie? In our house that’s what we call you. My boy says it’s because he knows you.

Like many British Columbians, our family would like to thank you for your tireless efforts and knowledgeable briefings. We see you working so very hard, bringing us the world’s most honest truths on this COVID-19 global health emergency we find ourselves in.

It is very scary for families, as you know. You mentioned your parents being worried about you at last weekend’s briefing. What some countries are politicizing, you are humanizing.

We never miss your press briefings and we listen with great interest to the facts you deliver. Because of your hard work we feel less anxious, less panicked, somehow.

We talk about the credibility you bring. You led the way when we found ourselves in the grips of SARS back in 2003. We are in awe of how you dove headlong into helping combat the Ebola outbreak in Uganda and put your expertise to work in eradicating polio in Pakistan, just to name a few.

Our family remarks on how politics don’t even come into play – in sharp contrast to some other jurisdictions.

Your ability to bring such clarity to your message, with such integrity and honesty, is priceless — particularly for parents. Unwavering in your message: wash hands, stay home if sick, use common sense and social distancing, protect yourself and others. Straightforward directives like these help.

Your briefings help us focus on what we can do.

Even when faced with difficult directives, like avoiding cruise vacations, knowing it will impact the economy and the livelihoods of many, your experience and credibility are crucial. It’s not personal, it’s science.

Dr. Bonnie, we trust you.

In the face of a crisis, we must not be taken in by clickbait panic, but informed, either through the BC Centre for Disease Control, Health Canada, or travel advisories updated minute to minute on

We took note, from you, that it’s far more vital for healthcare workers to have medical supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, as they risk so much – and we will need them.

You make us feel connected to truth. You help us explain this scary time to our kids in a way that helps them sleep at night, but also understand why it’s crucial to wash their hands far more thoroughly than ever before.

It is not an understatement to say that you are why our province is an example to the world how to handle times such as these.

All the best, be well, and we will be watching each day at 3:30 pm.


Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.