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The Big Ask

Jody Vance: There will be time for Big Questions and Big Problems after. But right now, the most important thing is to stay focused on the goal of getting as many people vaccinated as fast as possible.

There is altogether too much high school rumour mill going on in BC.

“Did you hear how (so-and-so) jumped the queue!?”

“Did you hear Whistler lifties are getting their shots?”

“Why teachers in Surrey and not all teachers?” 

Call me crazy, (you wouldn’t be the first) – but how about the scientists manage things and armchair experts take a breather?

It’s long past time to shift away from seeking out villains and toward everyone pulling in one direction: to get as many British Columbians vaccinated, as fast as vaccine lands here.

Nitpicking on rollout really isn’t helping anyone. Complaining about who’s getting shots seems counter-intuitive.

Certainly there is need to call out failures and clear errors in planning, such as the lack of online booking in Vancouver Coastal Health. There are critics asking for round the clock vaccine clinics, and questions why pharmacies are not involved as they are in other provinces.

There is need to monitor and question, but the ever-growing bickering over who’s next in line need not be on the list of deficiencies.

My Middle this week is a straightforward ask to check ourselves, grab hold of our trademark Canadian politeness, and put energy into helping friends, neighbours, and even strangers cross the COVID finish line.

Rather than become angry that you or your loved one isn’t “next”, find someone to help. It feels so good to help, even in a small way. Trust me.

Last week, live on radio with Keith Baldrey, we met caller “Joan from Comox.” Joan explained she is 90 years old and lives alone. As sharp as a tack, Joan spoke of her excitement having booked her vaccination appointment.

Wednesday is my day, if I can find a way to get there…

Unfortunately, Joan isn’t as mobile as she once was, and thought she might have to cancel her appointment only three kilometres away from her home.

Taken aback in the moment, Keith and I put Joan on hold, and had our producer take down her number.

Almost immediately my Twitter DMs and email inbox pinged with listeners wanting to help. One offered to travel from the mainland to Comox with his only mission to deliver this lovely elder to her appointment.

This is who we are.

After the show, doing a little research online, I found Joe’s Taxi. I spoke to Joe about how we might arrange for Joan to get to and from her appointment.

“Not a problem, I know Joan…haven’t seen her for awhile.”

For a tiny cost, we arranged for Joan to get her shot. A follow up call Thursday confirmed the good deed was done.

It felt so good to play a small part in making just one person’s life better. We can all feel that simply by leaning in during these next few months. Pledge not to judge the next prioritized vaccinated group, or those already vaccinated. (Which, as I’ve written about and explained, includes me.) Resist the urge to amplify the latest conspiracy theory.

No question, there are big lessons to be learned from this pandemic. Political and emergency preparedness. The glaring chasm between the haves and the have nots. How we care for our elders in the winter of their lives.

There will be time to address these. But right here, right now, there’s little choice but to be patient and hold the line until we are all protected.

Because the undeniable bottom line is this: None of us are safe until we are all safe.

Collectively, we need to look in the mirror and understand the ask: to wait our turn, to help our fellow citizens. And if our turn has come and we have the immunity, commit to help.

Be on-side with getting all of our vaccine in arms in BC, as fast as possible. Whatever that might look like.

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.