The health ministry of a Canadian province distributed a spam mailout that sought to book appointments for unvaccinated residents to accept a COVID-19 injection, sparking concerns that an individual’s personal vaccination status had now been made public.
In a July 20 report by Kelowna, British Columbia news outlet CastaNet, a resident only identified as Jon shared a photo of a mailout he received from the provincial Interior Health Authority (IHA) composed of a single window envelope with his name and address exposed with large blue lettering above stating “A COVID-19 VACCINATION HAS BEEN RESERVED FOR YOU – LEARN MORE INSIDE:”
Jon was alarmed when he saw the mailout and said he called the IHA and BC’s chief medical officer Bonnie Henry’s office, “The first question I asked was did this letter get mailed to everyone or just people who didn’t get their first dose?”
“They both told me everyone in B.C. got the letter who did not get their first dose.”
IHA told CastaNet they simply sent the mail out to everyone in postal codes identified as having low vaccination rates in a campaign that bombarded 100,000 citizens in the region.
Jon said the letter was signed by Bonnie Henry herself and mailed out by the IHA and that he was given a completely different story from both offices than what CastaNet reported, “Both Interior Health and Bonnie Henry’s office admitted to me that these letters were only sent to non-vaccinated people.”
“Imagine if you had cancer and the letter said we have treatment for your cancer. It has got to be illegal. I talked to a bunch of my friends and the people who didn’t have their first dose all got the letter,” he said.
Liberal Party MLA Dan Ashton wrote on Facebook on July 19 that while he applauded IHA’s efforts to push the injections, the concern was evident in the large blue lettering used to disclose vaccine status on the outside of the envelope, “For those living in shared accommodation or in another environment where others have access to their mail, it creates a situation where their personal health information has now been compromised without their consent.”
July 30 reporting by True North News revealed the contents of the letter, showing Henry said “Interior Health Staff are saving a vaccine for you…I’m hoping we can count on you.”
The letter also calls the injections “Canada’s approved vaccines” and says they have been “extensively tested to make sure they’re safe.”
“And best of all, they are very effective.”
On July 27 at the Province’s weekly COVID-19 update, Henry drew a line in the sand against the unvaccinated with a foreboding warning of “consequences” for the vaccine hesitant, “It is a choice to be immunized, but there are consequences for people who are not immunized and that’s going to be more important for us as we head into the fall, as we know this virus will increase and we’re likely to see other respiratory viruses.”
“We’ll be looking at the measures that we need to put in place to protect people, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”
Henry alluded to a future where to enter nightclubs, Canadians will have to show a vaccine passport.