Canadians who support mandatory vaccination policies (with the loss of basic civil liberties and human rights for the non-compliant) are no doubt well-intentioned. But good intentions are no substitute for medical and scientific evidence.
The new COVID shots do not prevent the spread of COVID, as evidenced by the numerous COVID outbreaks amongst the double-vaccinated in Israel, Iceland, and around the world. These new vaccines promise to reduce the severity of illness (symptoms) in those who receive them, but do not prevent anyone from becoming infected with COVID or transmitting it to others. Hence our governments continue to urge (and sometimes require) mask-wearing and social distancing, even for vaccinated people. Governments have not put forward persuasive evidence that the vaccinated spread the virus any less (or any more) than the unvaccinated. So, there is no rational or scientific basis for discriminating against the unvaccinated minority.
In contrast to vaccines which took many years to develop and test, the mRNA shot has not been subjected to any long-term testing on humans. Apart from already-known harmful consequences like myocarditis, nobody knows what impact this hastily developed vaccine will have on people two, 10, or 20 years from now. Vaccine passports ignore the natural immunity acquired by Canadians who have already had COVID (whether with or without symptoms). Natural immunity is stronger, lasts longer, and is effective against a larger range of viruses.
If the mRNA shots are effective in protecting those who receive them, then why would vaccinated people continue living in fear? Conversely, if the new vaccine is not effective, why force it on people by threatening them with loss of employment, or losing the freedom to fly on an airplane?
Vaccine passports remove the personal choice that citizens ought to have about bodily autonomy and making their own medical and health decisions. Government policies that coerce or pressure people to get this new vaccine are a serious violation of the Charter’s right to life, liberty and security of the person, which the Supreme Court of Canada has interpreted to include bodily autonomy.
Many Canadians over 70 will see the vaccine’s promised benefits as outweighing its risks. Healthy younger Canadians may not wish to get injected with a substance that has not been subjected to any long-term testing in humans. Since this experimental vaccine does not stop the spread of COVID, it should be everyone’s personal decision to weigh its risks and benefits. Fully informed and truly voluntary consent is the foundation of ethical medicine, as articulated in the Nuremberg Code. In the “free and democratic society” which the Charter sets forth as Canada’s ideal, citizens can evaluate the risks and benefits of medical procedures and treatments for themselves, without coercion, duress or indirect pressure.
Unfortunately, fear continues to drive our laws and government policies. In March of 2020, Dr. Neil Ferguson of Imperial College in London predicted that COVID would be like the Spanish Flu of 1918, which killed between 20 and 100 million people, at a time when world population was barely a fourth of today’s world population. We’ve known since May of 2020 that Ferguson’s predictions are false. Government data and statistics tell us that COVID is much, much closer to the annual flu than to the Spanish Flu. This matters a great deal because it was Ferguson’s predictions that put the world into a state of fear in the first place. This fear caused people across the globe to accept harmful and destructive lockdown measures. Now this same fear causes people to support mandatory vaccinations.
Society never truly becomes more tolerant. It merely changes the objects of its intolerance. From Chinese immigrant railroad workers in the 1800s, to Ukrainian “enemy aliens” during World War I, to Japanese Canadians interned in work camps during World War II, to Jews, to Blacks, to TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists), and now to the unvaccinated, it seems that Canadians are always kicking around some minority. It’s as though we need some unworthy folks to vilify, stigmatize, ostracize and look down upon, all while assuring ourselves that we have really good moral, religious, economic, medical or scientific reasons for doing so.
We may like to think of ourselves as more enlightened than our ancestors. But when unvaccinated Canadians are made into second-class citizens, without a medical, scientific or other rational basis for doing so, we obviously have not made any progress.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca), which is challenging mandatory vaccination policies in court.