August 3, 2021 Editor

Looking to a post-pandemic Canada: What can we learn from the U.K.?

Opinion: How can society reopen safely with the rise of the dangerous Delta variant? We can again use the UK as a crystal ball, but this time the images are unclear.

By Fahad Razak, Arthur Slutsky and David Naylor

Fahad Razak, Arthur Slutsky and David Naylor are physicians and professors in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Drs. Razak and Slutsky are also on the medical staff of Unity Health Toronto.

photo above:

WN: Consensus health wisdom is: get vaccinated. It’s possible for full FDA approval in the U.S. to be given for Pfizer by end of this month: others to follow. Canada hopefully will quickly follow suit. Alberta presents as outlier. Surprise? . . .

Scott Gilmore below ends his article with:

It is not fair that reasonable and responsible Canadians should pay the price for their deadly selfishness. No more soothing tones and patience. Time for the stick.

See Vaccinations: No more carrot—bring out the stick. We read:

There is an inevitable moment, familiar to all parents and babysitters, when you realize that reasoning with a toddler will only get you so far. Soothing tones and patience may work for a while, but eventually the child once again picks up their bowl, looks you straight in the eye, and slowly pours their cereal onto the floor.

Canada has arrived at this moment, and the toddlers in question are the approximately 20 per cent of Canadians who have yet to get even one dose of a vaccine.

Just as we began to think the COVID pandemic was coming to an end, a fourth wave has arrived, due almost entirely to the unvaccinated. As a result, restrictions are coming back, masks are returning, and our short precious summer looks like it may become even shorter yet.

The Food and Drug Administration is reportedly planning to give full approval to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine within weeks in a move that it hopes will persuade more Americans to take their shots . . . the FDA hopes that full approval will help convince more holdouts to roll up their sleeves. It would also see vaccine mandates kick in at a lot of workplaces and institutions across the nation—for example, the city of San Francisco said last month that it will require all 35,000 of its employees to be vaccinated within 10 weeks of formal approval from the FDA. As for vaccine skeptics, some recent polling showed that three of every 10 unvaccinated people would feel more inclined to get a shot with a full approval.F.D.A. Aims to Give Final Approval to Pfizer Vaccine by Early Next Month

Who are these people? The University of Sydney conducted a study of the unvaccinated in  Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. It found that, in comparison to the population at large, these people tended to have “less agreeable personalities”, be less cooperative with others, more selfish, and more extroverted. (In the vernacular, the term is “assholes”.)

Adding to this mix we also have the gullible, people who believe Anthony Fauci created the pandemic, or that Bill Gates is putting tracking chips in the vaccines. And, there are of course the misled. It is not a coincidence that Fox News viewers are far less likely to believe the vaccine works, according to a recent Axios/Ipsos poll.

Facts, patiently explained in infographics and with simpler and simpler soundbites, do not reach these people. And if they do, they are drowned out by the cynical clamouring of conservative media. Worse yet, it is a well-documented psychological irony that people who hold an unpopular opinion will only dig in further when presented with evidence to the contrary.

Others have warned this will create a segregated country. Randy Hillier, an Ontario politician infamous for being even too much for Doug Ford’s conservatives, claims that withholding access to the unvaccinated is akin to Nazi policies and “one step removed from extermination.” I could point out that everything in our society already contains element of segregation (No shoes, no shirt, no service), but there is simply no point in trying to reason with idiots or frauds who might believe this nonsense, and I won’t try here.

We read in another article, by NICK TAYLOR-VAISEY, What Canadians really think about Americans:

Who’s down: Anti-vaxx influencers

Canada’s fourth wave of Covid infections will hit differently than the others. This country’s vaccination campaign has surpassed most major countries, and study after study appears to confirm the Delta variant rips through mostly unvaccinated populations. But one in five eligible Canadians still hasn’t received a single vaccine dose. That includes anti-establishment flagbearer Maxime Bernier, who proudly proclaimed he’s far too healthy for Covid to be a threat (note: healthy people are at risk, too). The anti-vaxx mania has even duped Doug Ford’s daughter, who scoffed via Instagram at a vaccine pamphlet circulated by her dad’s government. (Emphasis added)


Now three months after our April peak, cases rates in Canada have decreased 20-fold and we face a new set of decisions. How can society reopen safely with the dangerous Delta variant as the dominant SARS-CoV-2 strain from coast to coast?

We can again use the U.K. as a crystal ball for policy options, but this time the images are unclear. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic the U.K. flirted with a laissez-faire approach designed to create herd immunity through mass spread of infection among lower risk individuals. It has returned to that course in June, albeit alongside an immunization program that has reached a clear majority of the population.

On that latter point, let us be clear — there are only two ways that immunity can develop to SARS-CoV-2: infection or vaccine. Provinces will decide in the coming months which route becomes the predominant mechanism of exposure for three groups of Canadians: those who are vaccinated but did not mount a full immune response (either because they have only received a single dose so far or have a less robust immune system), children who are too young to be vaccinated (under 12), and unvaccinated adults. These groups currently represent more than 40% of Canada’s population. Given their numbers, we believe uncontrolled viral spread as the path to Canadian immunity poses unpredictable risks for several reasons.

These uncertainties indicate that Canadian jurisdictions should take a stepwise approach to dropping public health precautions over the next few weeks. That strategy will give everyone a better sense of how the U.K. is faring. Canadians will also have a front-row seat as Alberta embarks on its own version of the U.K. experiment.

Above all, prudence and patience will give time for all our weapons against COVID-19 to be marshalled before we start moving back indoors.  Those weapons are anything but secret.  First and foremost, more Canadians must get vaccinated as soon as possible.  The next phase of immunization will require a patchwork of strategies like mobile clinics, pop-ups in low-vaccine-uptake neighbourhoods, door to door jab delivery, multi-lingual advertisements and local ambassadors. It means empowering family doctors and community leaders to spearhead further vaccine rollouts. And it means public campaigns to address vaccine misinformation.

Please click on: Post-Pandemic Canada

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.