The world, it seems, is finally starting to run out of patience with the unvaccinated. With the Delta variant now filling hospitals and emergency rooms with a new flood of COVID-19 patients, governments and corporations are getting tougher with those who refuse to get their jabs.

Last week, New York City announced it would require people to show proof of at least one vaccination shot before entering businesses, while companies like Tyson Foods, Disney, Google and United Airlines now require employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

The use of these sorts of sticks has been harder to come by here in Canada, where most political leaders continue to rag the puck on implementing vaccine passports.

On Tuesday, the University of Ottawa became the first major post-secondary institution in Canada to require its students and staff to get vaccinated, but the rest remain curiously shy about the issue. After all, as law professors Debra Parkes and Carrisima Mathen wrote last week, “There is a sound constitutional basis on which universities can require proof of vaccination status, during a pandemic, as a condition of enrolment.”

Post-secondary institutions are hardly the only ones who seem unwilling to do the obvious here. Despite nearly three in four Canadians supporting the idea of vaccine passports, it’s hard to find a political leader outside of Quebec who’s willing to back this obvious winner. The Ford government in Ontario, for example, has suggested that a vaccine passport could be prone to fraud, and it still refuses to require health-care workers to get vaccinated.

Alberta has been predictably recalcitrant, with Premier Jason Kenney declaring during last month’s Calgary Stampede that “we will not facilitate or accept vaccine passports.” His rationale? “I believe they would in principle contravene the Health Information Act and also possibly the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.”

Other governments haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory here, either. Even federal leaders like Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh have tiptoed around the issue. On Wednesday, the federal immigration minister announced that digital versions of vaccine passports could be available by the fall, but they remain optional, not obligatory. It’s as if everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move — and draw the ire of the anti-vax movement so they don’t have to.

But we can’t afford to play chicken like that with a virus that is now more contagious than ever. As we head into the fall, we need our leaders to step up if we’re going to avoid a fourth or even fifth wave.

That’s the message that was sent by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce earlier this week. In an interview with CBC, new president and CEO Deborah Yedlin said, “Our members have told us that a vaccine certificate passport is a very good idea, and it’s really, really critical to be able to continue to open successfully and consistently.” She wasn’t done there. “If we’re not going to be testing, tracing, and isolating, we need another mechanism to keep everyone safe.”

That mechanism, it’s increasingly clear, is mandatory vaccinations. This is hardly the groundbreaking affront to freedom and liberty that some want to pretend. Children, after all, already have to be vaccinated in some provinces for things like measles, diphtheria, and chicken pox before they can attend school. If that’s good enough for them, it should be more than good enough for the rest of us.

It’s as if everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move — and draw the ire of the anti-vax movement so they don’t have to, writes columnist @maxfawcett for @NatObserver. #COVID19

Yes, the usual suspects will make the usual noises about how this represents an abrogation of their freedom. They’ll misunderstand both the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and George Orwell’s 1984, and they’ll make themselves out to be martyrs rather than morons. But for the rest of us, it’s time to move on — and move ahead.

The carrots that governments dangled, from lottery prizes to cash payments, haven’t moved the needle nearly far enough. Global vaccination rates remain well short of where they need to be for us to reach “herd immunity,” and the so-called “vaccine hesitant” are only getting more deeply entrenched in their opposition. It will take more than gentle encouragement for countries like Canada to escape the recurring nightmare that is COVID-19. It will require resolve, courage, and the willingness to tell people what they need — not want — to hear.

If some people want to stay home, they can stay home. That’s their choice. And if they want to pretend they’re freedom fighters rather than stubborn fools, let them. But if they want to participate in society, whether it’s sending a kid to school or flying on an airplane for a vacation, they’re going to need to make the choice to get vaccinated. The cost of continuing to cater to their wilful ignorance, both in economic and human terms, is simply too high.

Keep reading

fascinating to watch the mood shift from annoyance to anger. Distgusting to calculate how noon-governance cowardice is based on trying to follow the polls rather than do job one of governance: PROTECT THE POPULACE FROM DANGER.

as for schools (in Ontario). It feels like there is more chaos 18 months into this than a year ago. terrifying. hard to feel optimism on our ability to figure out the even bigger threat of climate chaos.

I've been ruminating about the failures of governance that have shown up so glaringly in a variety of democracies. It is almost as though leadership in the pre-internet/mass media age had a freer hand in policy making because there was no instant mechanism for the general population to register their opinions. At times leadership had more information on which to proceed than the the rank and file - which did not prevent them from making major blunders but they appeared less fearful of reactions.

It also seems that the instantaneous whiplash Internet/"social" media users get when breaking news flashes around the world makes many people "gunshy" in the face of vitriol and hyperbole. It is also abundantly clear that many people react in knee jerk ways, posting ill-thought out commentary and too often the backlash to that only makes them double down on their errors, malice or ignorance. It is often the case that ill-considered words can now stick around forever, like home-made porn - to the detriment of humanity, civil discourse and clarity of purpose.

In this cyber multiverse the loudest, most numerous voices prevail, exerting irresistible pressure. Our usual immovable objects have been crumbling under the onslaught. Is it time for the elder statespersons to take a stand and build bulwarks against the mobs?

Perhaps it is now a requirement to slow down the 24/7 news cycle?

Anti-vaxxers, proponents of eugenics, phrenology fraudsters and table rapping spiritualists come and go. The eternal madness of mobs was again demonstrated on Jan 6th in Washington, D.C. "Peaceful" protests as a political tool originated with Gandhi and regularly turned violent by reason of deluded/threatened reactions from authority. The weaponization of protest is the latest iteration of political struggle but the struggle itself is chaotic, infiltrated by opposition, and swayed by the usual snake oil salesmen.

There is too much humanity on the Earth. There is no room to breath and breathable air is disappearing. The human brain has reached its limits? The voice of god, always an uncertain portent anyway, can no longer be heard amid the maelstrom. We need silence and dark skies.

It's an immoral, knee jerk reaction to keep healthy people from buying their groceries via a passport when Covid has a 97% survival rate and the vaccine efficacy is proving to have a high number of breakthrough cases. Most people don't get Covid and most aren't hospitalized. This is an experimental drug that has not been approved beyond emergency use. This injection has a much,much higher rate of injury and death than all of previous vaccines put together. People have aright to be leery of it. If this push to vaccinate was really about health, a traditional vaccine could easily be made and you'd find a big uptake from the hesitant. Why isn't this being done if the powers that be are worried that everyone should be vaccinated? Reaching herd immunity, which has always been the standard, seems to be a thing of the past. Why?

Doreen, please stay at home. Nobody forces you to do anything against your will and please stay away from young children who can't receive the vaccine.

It's an immoral, knee jerk reaction to keep healthy people from buying their groceries via a passport when Covid has a 97% survival rate and the vaccine efficacy is proving to have a high number of breakthrough cases. Most people don't get Covid and most aren't hospitalized. This is an experimental drug that has not been approved beyond emergency use. This injection has a much,much higher rate of injury and death than all of previous vaccines put together. People have aright to be leery of it. If this push to vaccinate was really about health, a traditional vaccine could easily be made and you'd find a big uptake from the hesitant. Why isn't this being done if the powers that be are worried that everyone should be vaccinated? Reaching herd immunity, which has always been the standard, seems to be a thing of the past. Why?

Mr. Fawcett, your statement that children already "have to be vaccinated in order to attend school" is incorrect. Families can become exempt for health or ideological reasons.
https://immunize.ca/immunization-mandatory-canada
When I was a student in medical classes we were taught that viruses mutate rapidly, as quickly as within weeks. It is the nature of their structure to adapt to the environment, and because they are relatively unencumbered compared to bacteria, in that they do not have to change as many "envelopes" when they morph, they can possess one structure one week, and a different one ten days later. For this reason, it is predictable that there is a delta variant, and there will be an Echo, Foxtrot, and onwards through the alphabet through the years to come. I don't have an answer for how the population is best served, but my education taught me that chasing viral mutation is a losing game.
I find your reporting on Covid vaccinations and passports fraught with an urgency that I suspect over-steps your authority, any of our authorities, actually.
Are you medically trained? Do you have a background in Public Health? How do you come to be an authority on bioethics? What is your story?
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is accurate that public access to personal health records are a violation of personal privacy and protection. They are placing their argument squarely alongside prevention of racial profiling, and others.
https://ccla.org/our-work/
If you must write your opinions, it would be more fitting for you to write them from a personal perspective rather than impose them on this highly cultivated, diverse, and very informed community of readers. I also wonder how your boss, Linda Solomon Wood, accepts that you dictate what the county's bioethics should be. It disturbs me that one writer would be entitled to universalize his preferences onto public health policy.