A few weeks ago, we all marked a difficult milestone. It has been more than a year since the pandemic. It’s an understatement to say that we have been through challenging times over the past year. The trying times aren’t over yet. But just like flowers emerging in the spring after a long cold winter, our resilient communities are emerging and safely returning back to what’s known as “normal.”

There is light at the end of the tunnel. That’s not a cliché. It’s real. With the efficient vaccine rollout, thanks to health authorities and workers, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re seeing more restrictions being lifted gradually in the Northwest Territories. In-person local events that were cancelled last year are returning while being modified with restrictions that help protect participants. Dining indoors with a bubble of friends is now acceptable. We’ve even heard that Folks on the Rocks will be back this summer. That’s great news. Travel restrictions, for the good of all, continue. It’s crucial to protect our communities, especially in remote places.  

With no vaccines, we won’t be emerging safely. With no responsible restrictions we would have had outbreaks. I’m grateful to all health care workers who have put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities. We all share the responsibility of protecting our communities. If there is one important action to take now, it’s to get vaccinated. 

I feel safer with the vaccine. I can safely do my grocery shopping, run errands and pick up my favourite takeout dinner from a local restaurant. I’m disturbed by fear mongering groups that try to dissuade people from getting vaccinated. Fear mongering creates an endless cycle of false information that won’t only affect the person who believes them but will harm the society and communities. 

Vaccine misinformation a threat

While social media kept us connected during the trying times, it’s a venue for groups to get their posts and videos packed with false information go viral. You’ve a choice of who to believe: social media posts and videos from anonymous sources or scientists and health experts? Let’s take a look at a few claims that have gone viral and appear on most of our social media timelines and, unfortunately, shared among our friends and connections. 

We’re not guinea pigs. Yes, we’re not. The vaccines that we have in Canada are approved and were tested. It didn’t take long to have them because, globally, nations are in dire need to end the current health and economic crisis caused by Covid-19. It’s ironic to use the fast quest for the vaccine as a tool to spread fear. Urgency is an important factor scientist consider when developing vaccines that combat the global pandemic. 

You still need to wear a mask. Our communities are emerging back. You still need to wear masks in public places where social distancing is not possible. If many become resistant towards getting vaccinated, we’re at risk of having new cases. And thus, more restrictions and potential lockdowns. If the majority of the population choose to get vaccinated, we will see many restrictions get lifted and we’ll be back to normal. 

Covid-19 vaccines are not effective. That’s one of the most dangerous claims of all. Vaccines save lives. They’ve saved more lives in Canada than any other medical interventions in the past 50 years. Covid-19 vaccines will do the same job. Let’s tune in to the scientists and medical experts. Even if you’re not at a high risk of severe Covid-19 diseases, think of your friends, family, co-workers, neighbours and community members who might be more vulnerable. According to reports, all Covid-19 vaccines will prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths. 

If you’re worried about getting vaccinated, fear not. In the NWT, we have professional health care workers who are capable of answering your questions and addressing your concerns. If you have not had your first shot, visit https://www.gov.nt.ca/covid-19/en/services/covid-19-vaccine to learn more about how vaccines work and book an appointment. 

Let’s protect our communities. Get vaccinated and encourage your family and friends to do the same. During this spring, let’s emerge and look forward to a summer in which we’re safer.

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