Vaccine Mandates for the Win

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This past week has been swirling with news and discussions about mask and vaccine mandates and the ever evolving situation with this pandemic from hell which feels like it will never ever, ever end.

I was asked yesterday in an interview with cbc radio where I stood on vaccine mandates. The answer is, right in front, leading the charge of YES PLEASE.

I’ve been sucking up my opinion about this the past few months because I work with a lot of different folks with different beliefs and I thought it would be cool to try to be respectful of that. I will also say that there are a lot of people who are choosing not to get vaccinated, but are also respectful of the hesitation of others to have contact with them due to that decision, and even others who are basically preferring to continue to isolate themselves rather than get vaccinated. This is not about them, because they are making choices based on their personal situations and willing to accept the limitations of those choices.

HOWEVER, if you are working with the public, or any vulnerable population which includes but is not limited to children, medically fragile, elderly, or impoverished folks I believe it should absolutely be mandated that you are vaccinated. By not doing so, you are putting those who have limited choices in receiving the services they require and have a right to (such as education or healthcare) at risk. Let’s put it this way: all children have a right to a public education and all people have a right to healthcare in this country, but we are not entitled to work in any given field. That puts the onus on the employees, the teachers, the doctors and the therapists to fulfill their mandate of providing a safe environment and making the well being of those they care for a priority.

In short: It is your right to decide what goes into your body, but you do not have a right to inflict that choice on others.

Employers create and implement policies for their staff ALL the time. The restaurant I worked at once upon a time had a strict policy about how many piercings you could have, how big they could be, no visible tattoos, and what colour your hair could be. It was based on the clients’ comfort level and response to said body modifications. To put that in terms of Covid vaccines, the “clients” have a right to feel safe in their environment and I think that gives employers the right to determine that their staff needs to accommodate the protection of their “clients” in order to be employed in that sector. While the vaccines are not perfect, especially with new variants in play, they remain one of our best tools to reduce transmission and the risk of severe illness. It will help us begin to focus on care for things other than Covid and emergencies in our health care system. It will help our kids stay in school and our economies to thrive again. Isn’t that what we all want? When we have cancer do we refuse treatment because we don’t know what’s in it? When you have a headache do you spend hours on the internet “researching” the ingredients and looking for adverse reactions of Tylenol? NO. Because many believe in the science when it is convenient for them. I can guarantee when someone refuse to take a vaccine due to lack of trust in the doctors recommending it, they will have an expectation that all of a sudden the same doctor will have enough skill and knowledge to help them get well. It’s all so fucking maddening if you ask me.

We are starting to see post secondary educational institutions mandate masks and vaccines with some school divisions following suit. Which leads me to congratulate the insight and leadership some institutions are showing, but ALSO begets the questions: Where the fuck is the leadership from our provincial government on this? Why is this being passed on to superintendents and university boards? We haven’t we seen hide nor hair of our “Health Minister” for months until all of a sudden she wants to be the Premier, holds a press conference and refuses to address or even acknowledge the crisis in our health care system. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

People get confused about rights and freedoms all the time. We tend to forget that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should, and also doesn’t mean we are entitled to. The only thing we seem to be experts at these days is finding arguments to confirm our own biases about anything. We are so focused on the ME, that we have no tolerance for the WE.

As members of society and communities, we have a moral obligation to care for others. How our selfishness has grown so deep that minor inconveniences have ballooned into heated political divide and such a severe lack of empathy that we are more willing to risk our children’s well being than implement the easiest of safety measures weighs heavily on me. How an unwillingness to protect our most valuable and vulnerable has evolved into an acceptable “opinion” is unfathomable.

So yes. I truly believe that vaccine mandates should be implemented in many sectors. It’s not even a new thing.Health care professionals when applying to study and children entering the public school system have historically been required to show proof of up to date immunizations, so this should be an easy transition.

I am grateful that my children’s school division has blazed the trail to mandate both masks and vaccines. I am relieved the campus I teach on has done the same. I am hoping our leaders will see what is occurring in other parts of the country and world and will act proactively this time around. There’s still time to prevent the disaster that is waiting for us this fall, so here’s hoping our government will listen a little harder this time around and do the job they promised to do.