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Here we are staring down a deadly wave of the Delta variant and Doug Ford is about to make another mess of it and give COVID deniers a pass
Doug Ford has declared that there will be no vaccine passports in Ontario. It’s almost like he wants the COVID case numbers to go back up.
I mean, there is the matter of the rumoured upcoming federal election. Perhaps Doug’s newfangled handlers think it would be strategic to have case numbers just high enough to take the shine off the Liberals’ handling of the pandemic. That scenario would provide the opportunity to refry those ads about the feds failing to stop the coronavirus at the border.
It’s hard to fathom. But here we are a year later staring down a deadly wave of the Delta variant and Ontario’s fearless leader is about to make another mess of it and give COVID deniers a pass. “We’re not going to have a split society,” Ford told reporters recently.
In fact, Ford says that if all goes according to Hoyle with vaccinations, the current COVID protocols “or most of them, they’re gone,” once stage 3 reopening ends early next month. Ford didn’t specify which protocols. Perhaps he’s just yanking our chain.
It’s nutty, of course, as kids are ready for a return to school and in-person learning in a few weeks’ time. But the fact that it’s nutty hasn’t stopped Doug before. To wit: the current head-games the premier is playing on the need – or not – for vaccination passports.
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is calling on the province to introduce a system to get into major events and dine indoors at restaurants. Quebec, for example, will require proof of vaccination to enter bars and gyms starting in September. EU countries instituted a digital pass earlier this month.
Toronto-area businesses have taken to social media to say they’ll require their own proof of vaccine from those customers who wish to avail themselves of their services, even if Ford won’t establish a passport system.
Restaurateur Jen Agg has been particularly vocal on social media about the government needing to mandate proof of vaccine. Too many businesses have had to close because of serial lockdowns necessitated by Ford’s mishandling of the virus. They can’t afford another repeat of that.
A cafe in the city’s west end that requested unvaccinated patrons sit on the patio instead of indoors was inundated by bad reviews online by anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers over the weekend.
Like the pandemic itself, debate on the need for vaccine passports is quickly becoming another reason for COVID deniers to complain about being relegated to second-class citizenry for exercising their “freedom” not to mask up and get vaccinated in the first place.
We’re already required to have records for vaccines in daycares and schools. The thing anti-vaxxers don’t get is that social responsibility is a reciprocal arrangement.
You can’t just pronounce that you are entitled to your “freedom.” You have a moral responsibility (there’s that word again) to protect yourself and others. The “freedom” argument doesn’t wash when you’re endangering people’s lives.
Anti-vaxxers are starting to get a reality check about that.
Not only will they not be able to go to a restaurant, but they currently can’t travel abroad. They might be required to be vaccinated in the near future if they are to perform jobs that involve interaction with the public. Along with calling for vaccine passports, the Ontario Liberals, for example, says the Ford government should make vaccinations for health-care workers mandatory.
It may also start to get personal for those who have chosen not to get vaccinated. Friends and family, for instance, may have something to say about setting new boundaries around relationships.
There are exceptions. People who are immunocompromised are already exempt from having to be vaccinated.
Kieran Moore, Ontario’s newly minted chief medical officer of health, says he “absolutely expects” another wave in September.
The moral imperative right now is for as many people as possible to get vaccinated. The longer it takes to get to herd immunity – that is, 90 per cent of the population vaccinated – the longer that variants of the virus have time to mutate into more complex and deadlier strains that can sidestep the immunity provided by vaccines.
The COVID recovery has been stalled too long by Ford’s bumbling and the ignorance of a vocal minority.