Dr. Pete Henley and his dog Alfie understand the importance of taking time outside amid the pandemic. (Contributed)

Dr. Pete Henley and his dog Alfie understand the importance of taking time outside amid the pandemic. (Contributed)

Behind the Mask: Vernon medical professionals weigh in on vaccination question

To jab or not to jab – that is the question – or is it?

It is always a surprise when someone you know and respect has made the decision to not have a vaccine.

Thankfully, they must, at the very least, wear a mask.

If you are someone with a compromised immune system (and there are quite a few of us out there), then it becomes your business when people make choices that are not based on real science.

We no longer have polio (due to a vaccine) and can be vaccinated against Tetanus, Hepatitis A & B, Measles, Whooping Cough, Mumps, Chickenpox, Diptheria and many more. Vaccines do work.

Dr. Pete Henley, who administers the Facebook page Coronavirus Okanagan Updates & Community Support, says he does his best not to engage with science deniers. He feels strongly about those few scientists who abuse their position of trust and jump into the same boat as the anti-everything movement, promoting misinformation under the title of physician.

Dr. Henley feels the management of COVID-19 has to continue to be science-based and consistent in order to control the spread.

He feels we are making progress, but counsels that for this to continue we all have to take responsibility. That means vaccines, sanitizing, social distancing with kindness and respect tossed in along the way.

As a pharmacy manager and pharmacist, Andre Ortmayr is part of a health team and helps educate and ease the fears of his patients.

Ortmayr wonders if there is underlying psychology of being told to wear a mask and if it triggers memories of being a child and being told to follow rules by an authority figure. The pharmacy has had to contend with a few loud deniers, which only adds stress to an already stressful day for staff.

He understands it can be frustrating to have to wear a mask and like most of us, he will be glad when he no longer has to wear one.

His recognition of those who choose not to be vaccinated is generous, as he states “we all have the freedom to choose” and hopes this decision will be made with the concept of public good in mind. He acknowledges that isn’t always the case, that people use misinformation to make their decision.

Both these health professionals have had changes in how they do their work. Physicians are trying to create a balance between phone calls and visits to the office.

Dr. Henley thinks that this change will likely be incorporated when COVID is no longer the threat that it is currently.

Ortmayr’s workplace now includes the offering of vaccines, all staff have to wear masks, and they all work behind Plexiglass barriers.

Ortmayr shares that a side-effect is sometimes having a sore throat at the end of the day, as he has to speak louder through a mask and from behind the barrier. A lot of his clientele are seniors and he needs to make sure they can hear him clearly as he provides information about their medications.

Both professionals also understand the necessity of creating balance in their lives during stressful times. Ortmayr states that the Japanese believe in ‘green bathing’ and he heads out into nature as does Dr. Henley and his pooch Alfie.

Ortmayr and Dr. Henley hope that you act responsibly and get the jab.

Carole Fawcett is a retired counsellor and freelance writer. Behind the Mask is a series that takes a look at some of the hardships, achievements and unintended consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. See more of her work online at wordaffair.com. If you have a pandemic story to share, please contact me at flower1@shaw.ca.

READ MORE: Search for vehicle and driver in Okanagan Lake following collision on Westside Road

READ MORE: Protesters call for justice for drowned Lake Country nurse at Kelowna courts


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Pharmacist Andre Ortmayr says he understands the frustrations people are feeling with the provincial health orders. (Carole Fawcett - Behind the Mask)

Pharmacist Andre Ortmayr says he understands the frustrations people are feeling with the provincial health orders. (Carole Fawcett - Behind the Mask)

Columnist Carole Fawcett takes a look at the novel coronavirus pandemic with Behind the Mask. (Contributed)