By Marvin Ross
French president Macron upset many when he announced that he wants to “piss off” the unvaccinated by making life difficult for them and forcing them to vaccinate. He is so right as the statistics show at least in Ontario and likely elsewhere as well. Austria has made vaccines mandatory, Greece is fining the unvaccinated over age 60 $114 a month and Italy is planning to prevent the over 50 unvaccinated from going to work.
The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly while, in Ontario, 81.6% of those over the age of five have already had two doses. Our problem is with the 12.6% of people who do not even have one vaccination. Even though you need a vaccine passport to go out to dinner, to a movie or a play, all has been shut down to help prevent the collapse of our hospital system. All elective surgeries have been cancelled which will not hasten death but will increase the suffering for those whose procedures have been delayed.
The anti-vaxers point to the fact that both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated are getting Omicron but they ignore the crucial bits of data that tell a compelling story. According to the science table that has been advising the Ontario Government since the beginning, covid cases among the unvaccinated are 1600.9 per million versus 1292.0 per million among the vaccinated. The vaccinated with two doses are 19.3% less likely to get the virus which is a reduction but not that great a reduction.
The huge difference is in severity. Those who have not been vaccinated are 5 times more likely to be in hospital than the vaccinated (532.7 per million vs 105.9 per million). That differential becomes even greater when intensive care need is looked at. The rate for unvaccinated in the ICU is 135.6 per million compared to 9.2 per million for the vaccinated. That’s a reduction of 93.2%
These are the stats for January 5 from the Science Table
We are all being made to suffer because of a small element of people who value their personal freedom over the good of all society or because of their inability to grasp science. If we required people to show their vaccine passports for travel on public transit, shopping and even going to work in addition to the already required restaurant and other places of entertainment, they will either get vaccinated or sit at home alone.
The issue is the right to make decisions and choices about your own medical treatment (and to hell with everyone else) versus the impact that right has on the health and safety of others in society. It has been suggested to me that the case of Typhoid Mary is one that is comparable now. Mary Mallon was an Irish American cook who was an asymptomatic carrier of typhus. She denied being ill but, as a carrier, she infected many and some of those whom she infected died. She continually denied that she was ill and was twice quarantined to North Brother Island for a total of 26 years. Isolating people in quarantine to protect the majority of society is not something new but dates back to Biblical times when lepers were isolated in colonies.
Today, we are not suggesting the unvaccinated be quarantined on remote islands but that they simply accept a fairly benign injection. How terrible is that?
We should not be allowing this small minority to dictate to us and to clog up our hospitals. The other day, I saw Dr Paul Offit, an American pediatrician and expert in vaccines interviewed on BBC News. He stated that at his hospital, the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, the Covid wards are full of kids whose families are not vaccinated. Watching families sob when he is forced to intubate their kids makes him want to go and shake some sense into them to vaccinate he told the BBC. He added that a parent’s job is to protect their kids and not vaccinating is not protecting them. Today, in Ontario, babies are ending up in hospital with covid acquired because many pregnant women are not vaccinating.
Maybe Macron’s strategy and the measures being taken in some European countries will work.