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Douglas Todd: Here's what B.C. vaccine opponents say about their refusal to get jab – Vancouver Sun



Analysis: A minority of British Columbians fear the unknown long-term health effects of vaccines, expressing a palpable distrust of pharmaceutical companies.

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The suspicion and fear is palpable when talking to British Columbians who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19.


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Even with Victoria saying people will need a B.C. Vaccine Card to get into such places as restaurants, casinos and fitness centres as of Sept. 13, some of the one in six British Columbians who haven’t had any vaccination told Postmedia they’re worried vaccines will cause long-term harm to their health.

Jerome Henen, a retired accountant in North Vancouver, said he “just doesn’t want to take the risk” of getting jabbed, given the possible “negative effects on the body down the road. There are a lot of valid questions about the vaccines.”

Though Henen enjoys going to restaurants and libraries, he’s resisting the “group think” that is leading many to demand everyone must be vaccinated. There will never be any absolute way to stop the coronavirus, he said, or any other respiratory disease.


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He is also not impressed with Dr. Bonnie Henry’s new mask mandate.

“Wearing a mask is like using chicken wire to stop the rain,” he said. “Nothing is scientific anymore,” he said of government rationales for reinstituting masking rules. “Everything is tainted by politics.”

There have been repeated assurances from government officials and scientists that the vaccines are safe.

Despite that, a Metro Vancouver nurse, who asked not to be named because she would be reprimanded by her hospital, was one of many who contacted Postmedia to offer their reasons for refusing to join those British Columbians who have made this one of the most vaccinated jurisdictions in the world.

The nurse said there is a “huge divide and controversy in the medical community” over whether to take vaccines, even while studies suggest they’re generally about 90 per cent effective against the coronavirus.


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‘What will be the long-term effects of this vaccine 20 years from now?” asked the nurse, who argued research data is still emerging and pharmaceutical companies won’t take legal responsibility for vaccine side effects.

Even though vaccines have been ordered for staff in B.C. seniors’ homes, the nurse said she’s going to wait to see what her employer, and the B.C. Nurses’ Union, require of health-care workers like her.

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The B.C. government, like virtually all governments, has been posting immunization notices that aim to reassure reluctant people that “feeling worried or unsure is completely normal when something is new.”


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The province’s COVID-19 site goes on to explain that “Health Canada has conducted a rigorous scientific review of the available medical evidence to assess the safety of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. … No major safety concerns have been identified.”

B.C. also links to federal health web pages, which go into further detail on safety, noting, for instance, “The manufacturer (Pfizer Canada ULC and BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH) is legally required to submit reports of adverse events to Health Canada. The manufacturer is planning to follow clinical trial participants for at least two years after the second dose of the vaccine is given. It must communicate any safety concerns to Health Canada.”

But such reassurances have not been enough for the vaccine-wary British Columbians that contacted Postmedia, who came from a range of ethnocultural backgrounds. They offered diverse reasons for not getting shots.


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“History has displayed the dark side of vaccines when they were rushed into use,” one health-care worker claimed.

Another remarked: “I won’t be a guinea pig until the pharmaceutical companies drop their liability shield” against lawsuits about side effects, referring to news reports.

Several argued they should have “the freedom to choose,” given what they called drug companies dubious record on safety.

One reader was pregnant and didn’t want to take any risks. Another said the first Pfizer shot had made her very ill.

But federal government sites say the side effects observed during the clinical trials for Pfizer “are similar to what you might have with other vaccines” such as for the flu. “The side effects that followed vaccine administration in clinical trials were mild or moderate. They included things like pain at the site of injection, body chills, feeling tired and feeling feverish. These … do not pose a risk to health.”


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Simon Fraser University’s Valorie Crooks, who specializes in health geography and supports the idea of a vaccine passport, said many hesitant people will likely “wait to see what they actually look like” before they make a decision about going the vaccination route, which will increase immunity for the general population.

According to health authorities, vaccine bookings more than doubled early this week after the announcement of B.C.’s vaccine card, to nearly 17,000. That’s up from just over 8,000 during the same two-day period last week.

But, in the long run, Crooks said, “The rollout of the B.C. Vaccine Card will be crucial” in regard to encouraging vaccinations. People will consider the information it provides about where and when the card will be necessary and whether it will be in digital form, in paper, or both. Some people, she said, “might exploit the gaps” in the certificate program.


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Gloria Gutman, professor emerita of gerontology at Simon Fraser University, said the people who are most hesitant about taking vaccines are often members of the populations that are normally most statistically at risk of poor health.

That includes a relatively small proportion of seniors, but it’s more likely to be those on low incomes, Indigenous people and immigrants, some of whom aren’t fluent in English. The B.C. Vaccine Card, Gutman said, should be a comfort to the majority of seniors, who are eager to get back into society.

Since 42 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents are immigrants, Gutman said public-health officials need to focus on making their pro-vaccine messages as clear and accessible as possible. Many immigrants, she said, come from countries where governments and medical authorities are not trusted.



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Citi hires Milovanovic from Goldman to head Americas financials M&A group



Citigroup Inc is hiring Steve Milovanovic to head its investment banking unit which focuses on mergers and acquisitions by financial institutions in the Americas, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.

Milovanovic will join from Goldman Sachs Group, where he was co-head of M&A for the financial institution’s group (FIG) in the Americas, said the memo, the contents of which were confirmed by a Citigroup spokesperson.

“Steve’s experience, judgment and client relationships will further strengthen Citi’s strategic advisory capabilities,” the memo said, noting that Milovanovic will be based in New York.

Milovanovic, who has also worked at Credit Suisse Group in his banking career, has more than 20 years of dealmaking experience, with a focus on financial services.


(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Writing by David French; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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GM extends EV Bolt production halt to mid-October



WASHINGTON (Reuters) –General Motors Co said on Thursday it will extend a shutdown of a Michigan assembly plant to mid-October following a new recall of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles over battery issues after 12 reported fires.

The largest U.S. automaker said the extension of the production halt at its Orion Assembly plant will go through at least Oct. 15. GM also said it was cutting production at six other North American assembly plants because of the ongoing semiconductor chips shortage.

GM said it will not resume Bolt production or sales until it is satisfied that the recall remedy will address the fire risk issue. It said Thursday it had reports of 12 fires and three injuries.

GM shares were largely unchanged in late trading.

GM in August widened its recall of the Bolt to more than 140,000 vehicles to replace battery modules, at a cost now estimated at $1.8 billion. The automaker said it would seek reimbursement from battery supplier LG.

It is not clear how long it will take GM to obtain replacement battery modules for recalled vehicles and whether it will have diagnostic software that will allow it to certify some modules do not need replacing.

GM said the additional three-week production halt at its Bolt plant comes as it continues “to work with our supplier to update manufacturing processes.”

Earlier this month GM was forced to halt production at most North American assembly plants temporarily because of the chips shortage.

The new production cuts include a Lansing, Michigan, plant that builds the Chevrolet Traverse and the Buick Enclave.

GM is also cutting production of SUVs like the Chevrolet Equinox, Blazer and GMC Terrain at plants in Mexico and Canada. It will also make further production cuts at Michigan and Kansas plants that make Chevrolet Camaro and Malibu cars.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday it plans a Sept. 23 White House meeting with automakers and others “to discuss the ongoing global chip shortage, the impact the Delta variant has had on global semiconductor supply chains and the industry’s progress toward improving transparency.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Present Yourself as a ‘No Brainer’ to Hire



A few jobs back, HR had scheduled four interviews, throughout my day, for a position I had open. The first interview went “okay.” The second candidate, however, impressed me so much I hired him on the spot. I instructed HR to cancel the remaining two interviews.


The second candidate did something I rarely see—they presented themselves as a ‘no brainer’ to hire.




  • Their resume was result-oriented (Not a list of opinions — “I’m a team player,” “detail-oriented,” “hard-working,” etc.).
  • They dressed as if they were already employed with my company. (In this case, a global multi-brand tour operator.)
  • They clearly articulated their value.
  • They told me several STAR (Situation. Task. Action. Results.) stories I could envision and relate to.


If your resume (skills and experience) impressed the employer, and after reading your LinkedIn profile to determine if you’re interview-worthy, you’ll be invited to an interview—the first most likely being via Zoom or Skype.


Impressing someone on paper and via your LinkedIn profile has its challenges, especially since you’re competing against many other candidates just as qualified as you. However, where the rubber meets the road is when you’re sitting face-to-face with the hiring manager.


Presenting yourself in a way your interviewer can envision you fitting with the company’s culture and the current team, as well as gives them confidence you’ll hit the ground running, will substantially increase your odds of receiving a nod of approval.


Regardless of whether you’re interviewing via video, sitting in a boardroom, a coffee shop or the interviewer’s office, focus on the following:


  1. Your attire
  2. Your body language
  3. Articulating how you meet the employer’s needs and will solve the problems the position exists to solve
  4. Being mindful of your interviewer’s time.



As I’ve mentioned in a previous column, being deemed “a fit” supersedes your experience and qualifications. Your image is paramount in giving the impression you’re “one of them.”


Make sure your attire is in line with the company culture. Obviously, this will differ from company to company, as well as between industries. If you’re interviewing for a position in a bank or insurance company, formal attire, even in 2021, is appropriate, such as a business suit, shirt, and tie. On the opposite end of the spectrum, casual clothing, even jeans and sneakers, can be acceptable if you’re interviewing with a design studio or tech start-up. The key is to dress as if you already work for the employer.


  1. Body language.


Your body language, along with your words, greatly influences the first impressions someone has about you.


If you’re seated, say in the reception area, stand to greet your interviewer. Firmly shake your interviewer’s hand, or each member of your interview panel, while maintaining a broad smile and steady eye contact. Say something along the lines of, “Nice to meet you, Alice.” Remember your interviewer’s name and use it naturally throughout your interview. Maintain eye contact during the interview. This shows your interviewer(s) you’re engaged in the conversation. Speak in a clear and audible voice. Your posture can portray you as arrogant, so be conscious of the way you sit or stand. During the interview, display a natural body language with relaxed shoulders and open arms by your side.


  1. Articulate how you meet the employer’s needs. 


This is where you solidify, you’re a ‘no brainer’ to hire. 


If you’re interviewing with the person you’d be reporting to, keep this piece of human psychology in mind: A person is more likely to want to build a relationship with you if you understand their situation, problems, and goals.


Start with the job description. Now that you’ve landed an interview, refer to the job description, paying close attention to job qualifications and duties.


Have STAR stories ready regarding specific situations in which you used each of these skills. Try to keep your STARs short and vivid. The best STAR ever said to me: “I sold Corvettes in Las Vegas.” (Yes, I hired the person.)


  1. Be mindful of the time.


Always be punctual for your scheduled interview time! Being punctual is a sign of being a professional, as well as respect for the other person. Stick within the time frame your interview was scheduled for. (usually 45 minutes to 1 hour)


In 2021 employers are looking for candidates who’ll mesh with their workplace culture. Showing you belong will go a long way in making yourself a ‘no brainer’ to hire.



Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at



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