- Kelowna Votes
Enough is enough, according to Charissa Nordine and Donjeta Kaquri.
"Vaccination mandates have been lifted for virtually everything else, so why is Kelowna General Hospital still requiring visitors to be vaccinated?" she asks incredulously.
"I'm not vaccinated and I can't visit my unvaccinated father in the hospital. It's very frustrating. He's in there all alone. I'm his only family and he's very social and it would be nice if I could see him, for his sake and for my sake."
Kaquri's mother has blood poisoning and she can't visit her at KGH because she's unvaccinated.
"I'm sharing this experience with you because people need to know this is still going on. People may think these outrageous mandates are over, but they're far from over," she said.
"My mom is unvaccinated and speaks little English and has a hard time understanding sometimes. I'm extremely worried and upset."
In neighbouring Alberta and many other jurisdictions, there are no longer vax mandates for hospital visitors or for health care workers.
Nordine's dad, Patrick Brown, rushed to the emergency department of KGH last Thursday night needing immediate hernia surgery.
Nordine followed him there and was able to see him in the emergency room to visit him and get his keys in order to drive his car home.
BC and hospital policy allows people unvaccinated against COVID-19 to come into the emergency room for treatment, to accompany a person seeking help and to visit a patient in the emergency room.
Brown had his surgery Thursday night and was admitted to a ward.
When Nordine came to visit him on Friday morning she was told she couldn't because she's unvaccinated and BC and hospital policy requires visitors to regular wards to be fully vaxxed.
She had to pass the cellphone charger and flowers she'd brought for her dad through the door to someone in the hospital to be delivered up to his room.
"I was told to call a supervisor if I wanted to know anything more," said Nordine.
She did and heard back on Monday from a supervisor who said no again and that there would be no exception in this case.
"My dad will get out on Wednesday, so I'll see him then," said Nordine.
"But it's a shame I'm not able to visit him. Vaccination mandates have been lifted for everything else, including travel, but BC is hanging onto them for hospital visitors and health care workers."
Kaquri encountered a similar scenario.
"My family aren't vaccinated, but we were all able to visit with my mom while she was in the emergency room," said Kaquri.
"Thursday I bring my mom some food and snacks and to visit with her again as we have all been doing while she was in emergency. I'm told they moved her and admitted her into the hospital."
With the policy of no unvaxxed visitors on wards, Donjeta was denied entry because she couldn't produce a vaccine passport
Back to Patrick Brown who had the emergency hernia surgery.
He isn't vaxxed against COVID-19 because he's had bad reactions to vaccinations in the past.
His daughter isn't vaccinated for religious reasons and in solidarity with her husband, family physician Dr. Joshua Nordine, who isn't vaxxed because he has an auto-immune issue and for religious reasons.
Dr. Nordine is able to continue to see patients at his Rutland Medical Associates office because it is a private practice.
However, he had his hospital privileges stripped because he's unvaxxed as well as had his contract with a local detox clinic pulled and he can't visit any of his patients in hospital, long-term care or hospice.
Dr. Nordine also heads up the Hire Back Our Heroes campaign urging the province to give unvaxxed health care workers their jobs back.
Dr. Nordine says unvaccinated health care workers and visitors can safely return to hospitals with a negative result from a rapid test, not showing any symptoms and continuing to mask, physical distance from anyone not in their household and hand washing.
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