TORONTO STAR reading our website and running with our material

The Toronto Star is reading our website and running with our material. We commented about the need for vaccination passports in July, posting our header on July 29th.  We also targeted Doug Ford as the intractable political leader behind the failed vaxx policy. The Star ‘borrowed’ from our website and then wrote the following editorial.

Toronto Star editorial, July 31/202

Acknowledging the obvious, British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Bonnie Henry, has acquitted herself admirably throughout the pandemic. Her tone, her manner, her sense of calm. The good doctor reaffirms our positive belief in the role government plays in public health. She speaks, we pay attention.

The personal touch was apparent again this past week when Henry, during a press conference, encouraged people to inquire of guests coming to their homes if they have been vaccinated. She added that she was not comfortable inviting the unvaccinated into her own home.

She offered a broader take on society too: “If I was running a nightclub, I’d want to make sure that my staff are protected. And yes, we absolutely can say, ‘To come in here, you have to be immunized,’ and that gives people the level of comfort that they’re in a safer environment.”

The broad message is the right one. You want to dance? Get two shots in the arm before you go looking for a shot at the bar.

The narrower message, though, is problematic. The onus is on the club owner to set the rules? In Canada, apparently yes.

No wonder the waters swirling around proof of vaccination have become so muddied. No wonder the concept of vaccine certificates, which we have argued in favour of previously in this space, has become so divisive.

This need not be the case.

Let’s look to Denmark, one of the many instructive examples in Europe, which launched its coronapas in the first week of April. Yes, April. Nearly four months ago.

From the outset, it was made clear that a pass into gyms, cultural centres etc. required either the country’s privacy-protected digital pass confirming immunization (also available in paper form), or proof of a recent negative test (within the previous 72 hours in the case of a rapid antigen test), or proof of a previous infection within the prior 12 weeks.

That’s a long way from the exclusionary “you must be immunized,” yet enough of a nudge to prompt increased vaccine uptake by those weighing the merits of a convenient health pass against a hesitancy that may be rooted in, say, a fear of needles.

So there’s the health policy objective of more jabs in more arms while also addressing safer environment concerns for those already immunized and workers. Plus it relieves business from the onus of being the rule setter.

Why did Denmark move so quickly? Because the government stated at the time, the alternative was not opening. Get businesses open and people back to work, was the thinking. It’s the economy, stupid, as someone once said.

Among the first allowed to open were hairdressers and beauty salons. In April. Shaggy-haired readers may recall that it was that same month when Doug Ford lamented what he called his own sheepdog hairstyle, prompting him to get one of his daughters to go at his mop with, we were told, dog clippers.

The premier likes a quip, we know. Hair salon owners who put their life savings into their shops were left weeping.

Meanwhile, Denmark’s restaurants and museums were brought under the coronapas umbrella the first week of May. It works for zoos, cinemas, swimming pools. The system is comprehensive.

Ford’s response to whether such a certificate would be used here? Incomprehensible. “It’s just not needed,” he said earlier this week.

There are many jurisdictions beyond Denmark that disagree. France introduced the first phase of its health pass this month, targeting such large venues as cinemas and museums first. And the Eiffel Tower. This week parliament added restaurants and cafes, to take effect in August, when, as we know, Paris goes on holiday. As of Sept. 30, the passe sanitaire will be required for 12 to 17-year-olds. (Mandatory vaccination for all health care and retirement home workers was also adopted.)

What is Premier Ford afraid of?

“We’re not going to have a split society,” he said earlier this month.

Split how? In Bonnie Henry’s news conference she put the percentage of hardcore anti-vaxxers at about five per cent, max. Is that what the premier means by a split society?

Let’s leave the anti-vaxxers on the margin. In Ontario, approximately 68 per cent of residents aged 12 and up have been fully vaccinated. How many more would get on board with a nudge? There’s a world of difference between hesitancy and strident refusal.

Ford has to move beyond his nonstrategy strategy of “encouraging” people to get the jabs.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health wants to achieve what he calls community immunity. That requires around 90 per cent of the eligible population to be immunized — a number that has risen significantly because of the fierce and fast Delta variant.

We’re a long way off that and it will take more than what we’ve done so far to get there.

A vaccine pass would allow the already vaccinated to feel safer, urge the unvaccinated to think again, and set common ground rules not to split, but to unify, society.


This entry was posted in ARCHIVES. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.