By Darren Lum
The heated debate at Haliburton County council recently regarding vaccinations is a clear indication the province needs to take charge when it comes to vaccination mandates.
We’ve seen the past few years how the province has virtually left the burden of enforcing COVID-19 protocols such as mask wearing to local businesses such as retailers and restaurants, school boards and lower tier governments. It’s led to conflicts from outspoken anti-vaxxers, who direct their ire at companies by boycotting Chapman’s Ice Cream, protest outside hospitals and create conflicts with retail employees, who don’t deserve the abuse.
Be a leader, Doug Ford, and take responsibility for the health of all Ontario residents instead of placating a small portion of the population by a we’ll-look-into-it-when-things-get-really-bad attitude.
It can start with mandating vaccinations among health care workers, who work with the most vulnerable. My mother is in long-term care in the suburbs of Toronto and she has real difficulty with wearing a mask and grasping the concept of a pandemic. Without vaccination mandates, I worry for her and the residents she shares the floor with. I’m thankful they’ve started to ask for proof of vaccination upon entering. If I must follow this protocol at the long-term care facility, why not the employees who are there all the time and in close proximity to my mother?
This concept of requiring vaccinations as a condition of employment in hospitals, long-term care homes and other places where hands-on work is involved with patients is not new in Canada. Why is it different in this case?
We need a government that forges a direction back to a life we’re all craving and is ready to accept accountability … even at the expense of lost votes.
With four student cases in Haliburton in two weeks, it’s pretty clear the coronavirus is not gone despite any preconceived notions we’re immune from the pandemic up in the Highlands.
We might be done with the pandemic, but the pandemic is not done with us.
A little more than five million people have died globally from this disease.
In Canada, there has been close to 30,000 people and a little more than 10,000 who have died in Ontario. These are more than numbers. They are people with families, who are mothers, fathers, sisters and sons. Let’s not forget them.
Yes, there are people who have not died since contracting the disease.
However, COVID-19 is disease that can adversely affect the lungs, heart and blood vessels, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes caused by blood clots. In autopsies, there has been discoveries of tiny blood clots in the liver and kidneys.
As of Dec. 4, more than 29 million Canadians, or 76.5 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated. These are good things and show Canadians, for the most part, are looking out for each other.
The jury is still out about the latest variant of concern, Omicron.
However, evolutionary biologist Jesse Shapiro at McGill said during the CBC radio show, Breakaway with Alison Brunette this is the same virus and as far as we know it is transmitted from person-to-person through the air. This means wearing a mask and ensuring there is ventilation in enclosed spaces can help prevent transmission.
“ So, there’s no reason to completely flip out and think that, you know this is going to be the end of the world and something completely novel,” he said.
Public health is a matter for us all to not just pay attention to, but be an active participant by wearing masks and getting vaccinated for others. This global problem depends on a global effort to find the end of the tunnel to a brighter future. This is only possible when we all work together.