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18Jun

B.C. measles immunization program off to good start, figures likely to increase

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A province-wide program designed to help individuals catch-up on their measles immunizations is off to a good start.


Eric Risberg/AP / ASSOCIATED PRESS

A provincewide program designed to help individuals catch-up on their measles immunizations is off to a good start.

According to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, the program has offered 15,796 doses of measles-containing vaccine since its launch April 1 until May 30 to kids in kindergarten up to Grade 12.

A news release noted that figure was a preliminary total and is expected to increase when all records are collected from community pharmacists and care-providers.

During the first two months of the program:
• A total of 858 in-school clinics and 2,388 public health clinics were hosted throughout B.C.
• Immunization records for 566,106 students were reviewed.

Still another 230 in-school immunization clinics and more than 900 public health clinics are scheduled through the end of June.

The B.C. government expects to share details in the fall about how it will require students to report their immunization status.


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18Jun

Will this be another summer of wildfire smoke and poor air quality in B.C.?

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Shell Road in Richmond was hit by a wildfire on July 27, 2018.


Francis Georgian / PNG

All indications suggest British Columbians should prepare for another smoky summer this year, experts warned today.

B.C. Wildfire information shows the province has so far this year seen increased drought and higher-than-average temperatures, which are expected to continue. Experts are predicting a greater risk of wildfires and smoke in the province this summer, particularly in the southwest, which includes Metro Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver air quality engineer Francis Reis said more studies are making a strong link between climate change and the exacerbation of wildfire seasons.

“As we continue to see further warming, we can expect the patterns we are seeing now to continue or even get more extreme,” he said.

Residents are reminded to try to stay indoors when air quality bulletins are issued.

The summers of 2017 and 2018 were the worst on record for smoky skies in B.C., caused by wildfires. This led to warnings that people take caution when outside, especially those with asthma, lung conditions, the elderly and pregnant women.

The hot, dry spring has many worried that 2019 could also bring hazy skies that are bad for residents’ health.

More to come…

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Twitter: @loriculbert




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18Jun

New St. Paul’s Hospital to get $12 million for hearing loss centre

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The new St. Paul’s Hospital will feature a state of the art hearing loss centre, funded through $12 million in equal $6 million commitments from a Rotary Club foundation and the hospital’s own fundraising arm.


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The new St. Paul’s Hospital will feature a state of the art hearing loss centre, funded through $12 million in equal $6 million commitments from a Rotary Club foundation and the hospital’s own fundraising arm.

The Rotary Club of Vancouver has been supporting hearing loss or deafness for three decades. In 1985, it formed the Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation to address an unmet need in the philanthropy community. Through bike-a-thons and other events, it has raised over $3.5 million.

But the $6 million pledge is the biggest fundraising challenge for the charity. Jack Zaleski, president of the Rotary’s hearing foundation, said the St. Paul’s endeavour will be separate from the smaller donor bike events.

“We recognize with this opportunity that we can do something truly extraordinary, creating the premier clinic for those afflicted with hearing problems and deafness, a centre where everything will be under one roof.”

Zaleski said the foundation will leave no stone unturned in its mission to raise money. It will approach pharmaceutical companies, technology companies and everyone else involved in supplying services and equipment for the hearing community.


The provincial government hopes that a new St. Paul’s Hospital will open for patients by 2026.

The most recent big donation to the hospital development project came from the Louie family, which owns London Drugs. Two years ago, Vancouver billionaire Jimmy Pattison pledged $75 million for the new hospital, which is expected to be built by the fall of 2026 at a cost of nearly $2 billion. The existing hospital on Burrard Street will likely be demolished with land sales helping to fund the redevelopment of the False Creek flats site.

The B.C. Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre will include examination rooms, surgical suites, research space and laboratories. Funds will be earmarked for audiology testing and research, tinnitus and vestibular conditions that often affect balance. Since hearing often affects seniors, the centre will have specialized care for those who, because of age, mobility and geography, are less likely to access specialized hearing care.

“Benefiting thousands of patients provincewide, this funding will help us transform the patient experience …” said Dr. Brian Westerberg, head of the division of otolaryngology at St. Paul’s.

He noted that hearing problems are sometimes linked to other conditions so the new centre will allow for improved interactions and collaborations between doctors and health researchers in numerous areas including neurology, physiotherapy, kinesiology, psychiatry, ophthalmology and gerontology

The existing BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital had 4,629 patient visits from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

Broek Bosma, chief development officer for the St. Paul’s Foundation, characterized the donation pledge by Rotary as a “golden opportunity we did not want to miss.”

St. Paul’s has been the province’s main referral centre for patients with complex ear and hearing problems and it was the first hospital in Canada to offer cochlear implants in 1982. Since then, nearly 800 adult patients have had the revolutionary procedure there. B.C. Children’s Hospital offers the procedure as well to pediatric patients.

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Twitter: @MedicineMatters




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