Canada and the Coronavirus

Welcome to the club. Our premier is steadfastly refusing to even consider any sort of vaccine mandate. I’m hoping that he’s just trying to protect Conservatives from PPC vote-splitting and will modify his tune next week after the election, but I’m not very optimistic. It’s obvious by now that his sole strategy of asking people nicely to get their shots is producing any results.

We will see. Personally I am all for vaccine mandates and vaccine passports. We live by hundreds of rules, that is a society. One more to curb a pandemic is no problem.

I don’t believe vaccine mandates will work. Those of us who were happy to get vaccinated might not understand how much fear of the vaccine some people have. There was a hospital in New York where 29% of the employees in the maternity ward were unvaxxed. The hospital demanded they be vaccinated as a condition of employment, and so many people quit that they had to shut down the maternity ward (a judge reversed the mandate to get them back, I think).

People are literally giving up their careers to avoid being vaccinated. All a mandate is going to do is enrage them and help break down civil society even more.

And these are not all right-wing people. I’d be willing to bet there were almost no conservatives in the group that quit the hospital. The teacher’s unions are refusing to mandate that teachers be vaxxed, and Biden says the mandate will not apply to the Postal union. Neither of those are hotbeds of conservatism.

On the weekend, college football games around the country erupted in chants of ‘fuck Joe Biden’. College students are not predominantly Republican. But they are one of the larger unvaxxed cohorts out there.

I look at it this way: We should beg people to get the vaccine. Even bribe them if we have to. But if they refuse, oh well. Employers can decide whether to keep them or not based on their own requirements and liability and such.

So long as vaccinated people aren’t dying, the unvaxxed are mainly risking themselves and other unvaxxed people. This virus is going to burn through their ranks, sickening or killing a bunch of them, and then they’ll have immunity and we can get on with our lives.

What do college students in America chanting about Joe, or how Republicans might feel, have to do with covid in Canada?

New Brunswick just announced vaccine passports for restaurants, gyms, events, movies, etc. You will also have to register to travel to the province and if you are not fully vaxxed you’ll need to isolate for 14 days.

We went totally open at the end of July and are now seeing big numbers (for us). Today they announced 63 new cases, the highest single day total of cases since this started. Hospitalization is up and a large percentage of them in the ICU.

I wish they had put the mask mandates back but, given the exposure sites they’ve been listing, the passport is a step in the right direction.

Just pointing out how strong vaccine hesitancy is among some, regardless of their political orientation.

And some of it is understandable, IMO. I have a niece who just married and wants to have kids soon. She’s in her early 20’s, and is scared that there is little data on pregnancy and the shot. And being very young, she knows that the chance of Covid killing her is extremely small. So she has opted to wait and see until more data from pregnant women comes in. I don’t agree, but it’s at least a not-crazy attitude.

We are essentially carrying out a giant medical trial on the entire population. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing if 20% of them choose not to participate. Long term consequences of the shot are extremely unlikely, but then if there is one, the impact is gigantic. A proper risk analysis takes both the severity and size of effect into account. Maybe 20% of the people staying out of the experiment is a good thing - even for the purposes of serving as a control. For example, if everyone had been vaccinated we’d have no data on the strength of natural immunity vs vaxxed immunity, and that seems important.

The people who most need to vaccinate are generally vaccinated. The elderly and at-risk have vaccination rates in the high 90’s. The rate goes down as you look at younger people, which makes total sense to me. They are at lower risk in the first place.

It would be nice to have 100% of the people vaccinated, but how much breaking of things are you willing to do to achieve it? How many poor people do you want to fine? How many people should lose their jobs? How much social destruction should we trade off for getting a few more people vaccinated?

My wife, who works in this area, says that one of the biggest reasons for people being unvaxxed is that they simply can’t get to a facility. Single moms with kids at home, the working poor without transportation, etc. Sure, they could, with some effort, get themselves to a pharmacy offering the shot. But the hoops they have to jump through makes them procrastinate.

I believe the province is considering rolling vaccination vans to cater to them and remove another barrier to vaccination. I heartily approve of that. But mandates and fines? How many poor people are you willing to destroy to achieve this? Bear in mind that they tend to be least educated as well, and therefore may have superstitious, conspiratorial or religious reasons for not vaxxing, and you are unlikely to change their minds. What is plan ‘B’ if you roll out a mandate and find out you have 5 million people simply not complying? That’s the kind of thing that destroys authority and trust.

This is starting to remind me of the ‘war on drugs’. It’s so bad we just have to start cracking down! Lot of good that did. It just broke a lot of inner cities, affecting the poor and minorities the most. And that’s what an authoritarian mandate will do, in my opinion. It might get anothr few percentage points of people vaxxed, but at great cost. And political considerations will likely exempt some groups as Biden has done in the states, which will feed into a sense of being persecuted. It’s just not worth it.

This is a frequently repeated talking point. But at one level, this is the state of ALL human medicine as knowledge accumulates. On another level, with literally over a billion people vaccinated, it is ridiculous. There were, in fact, giant medical trials. They all occurred BEFORE the vaccines were approved, emergency or otherwise.

The scale of the vaccine rollout is unprecented. Otherwise, it’s not really that novel.

Hyperbole aside, mandating vaccinations (which, remember, we’ve been doing for primary school attendance for decades) is hardly even in the top ten of things that are hard on poor people.

So if this is just business as usual, would you advocate open trials like this for everything, and get rid of the 10-15 year trials most drugs go through to to get FDA approval?

When I have advocated for even mild FDA reform, I get tremendous pushback from the same people who are now willing to guarantee the safety of a drug and even mandate its use despite not having gone through the FDA process at all. We started vaccinated pregnant women without a single pregnant person being part of the initial trial. We are willing to vaccinate children despite children not being part of the trial (and discovered a risk of heart inflammation in young boys that no one knew about beforehand).

I’m totally okay with a large volumtary trial in a time of a pandemic. I’m not sure forcing people to take such a shot is ethical.

Another problem with the mandate as designed in the US is that it forces you to disclose health information to your employer which could be used against you later in any number of ways. For instance, if you had a valid exception because of an immune system problem you would have to disclose it, and that might affect your prospects in the future. That would be a violation of HIPAA in the US and I believe the Canada Health Act here.

I believe in drug legalization and the right to abortion because I think you have a right to choose what you do with your own body. ‘My body, my choice’. Now, what would change my mind is if your ‘choice’ hurts others unduly. In the case where anyone can vaccinate and protect themselves against the unvaccinated, I will put individual rights first. If the vaccine was less protective or the unvaxxed were causing other dangers, I could be persuaded to support a mandate if I thought it would work. I don’t think it will.

Forcing people to enter that trial by law woild be totally unprecedented.

  1. it’s not a trial
  2. no it would not. Vaccines have been required for school for decades, and school itself is legally not optional. Plus, you’re ignoring a lot of compulsion from the past, before 1867.

But I understand that you’re very committed to your point of view, so perhaps I should just let you get on with it.

New York is not in Canada. There have not been this level of vaccine resistance in Canadian hospitals.

Biden is not the president of Canada, and the Canadian federal mandate looks like it will apply to Canada post.

Canadian university students have not errupted into chants of “fuck Joe Biden” at football games or elsewhere, and even as many of our universities and colleges are now requiring vaccines (see every university in Alberta), there has been vanishingly little student pushback.

In summary, you appear to have not noticed the title of this thread, and keep bringing in US examples as if they mean anything.

No, we are not. This is anti-vax bullshit.

People think this but in practice it’s not true in most places. In Ontario all you have to do is fill out a form that says “my conscience says I don’t want my kids vaccinated” and boom, they can go to school without vaccines. Just walk into your MPP’s office and demand the form, and it’s yours. BC has a similar form. You have to sign in in the presence of a commissioner for affadavits or a notary public or whatever it is, but they cannot refuse to do so. You don’t even have to say it’s a religious thing.

They don’t advertise this in the hopes that people will, like you and many others, continue to labor under the misapprehension that vaccines are a hard requirement, but they aren’t.

In fact it’s quite literally true, though of course ALL drugs and vaccines are perpetually in a state of Stage IV clinical trial. Stage IV is postmarketing trials. They will in fact continue assembling safety and efficacy information and conducting studies, as per usual. In this case, Stage IV started a lot earlier than usual.

Some of that may be age-related: I don’t think these conscientious objections were there, or at least not formalized, when I was a kid in the 70s. I could be wrong though (and anyway I went to school in California, not Canada).

Looks like you’re quite right for Canada: Mandatory vaccinations: The Canadian picture.

I used the US because A) they aren’t that different, and B) they are the first example we have of how a North American population reacts to news of a proposed mandate. Canada’s response may not be exactly like that, but it’s certainly a cautionary example.

It’s like no one remembers Typhoid Mary. And the lengths the government to, to prohibit her from working in her chosen field.

The fundamental problem is that far too few people in North America remember anything about what it was like when we faced serious infectious diseases that we had no way of controlling. We’re so used to medical science fixing things relatively easily that we think it should always be that way, and if it isn’t, there must be someone to blame.

A few years back, some people I knew were working on a project to collect oral histories of what it was like to live in the 40s and 50s, when polio was a frequent problem, because they realized that we were losing our sense for what vaccination has done for us. Turns out they were right, too bad they didn’t have much of an impact though.

My guess is that you really can’t find anything like that in a Canadian context for your argument so you weakly scrambled for something. Though it does serve as a cautionary tale of right wing politician using public health measures as a wedge issue and of right wing politician’s remarkable ability to put public health and economic growth in opposition.

As for timelining of vaccine deployment enjoy the following from John Hopkins

A) when it comes to politicization of the pandemic, the government response in provinces and the pubic reaction, the two countries are very different

B) August 16 - Canadian federal government mandates Covid vaccines for all federal workers.
September 9 - Biden announces stringent new vaccine rules on federal workers.

I think your calendar is broken.