Tough love is here for the unvaccinated

There is bad news and good news this week. First the bad news. Most provincial governments bet that the pandemic was over and have now discovered that the Delta variant was stronger than anyone believed and had rebuilt itself to be more contagious. The number of new Covid cases is rising across Canada and the three western provinces have filled all their ICU beds and surgeries have been cancelled. The other bad news is that Covid has reared its ugly head and has infected students in a school in Emo. Tracing the virus has shown that some adults were also infected.

There are many things in this pandemic where provincial premiers made mistakes. However, the Ford government never lifted the mandate to wear masks in enclosed spaces and made clear guidelines on the use of masks in restaurants, bars, and beauty salons. Other provinces lifted all mask wearing restrictions. We may not like the continued restraints, but as the number of cases grow in Ontario, it is hard to argue against the guidelines.

The good news is that Pfizer has now tested their vaccine on children 5 to 11 and have found it to be highly successful in protecting children against the Covid virus. It is hoped that the peer review will only take a few weeks and the vaccine will be made available to all children 5 through 11. By inoculating all those students, schools will become much safer, and all students will be back in the classrooms.

As I walk and shop around Fort Frances, I am encouraged that almost everyone is following the rules of wearing facial masks and practicing social distancing while standing in line or even talking to each other. We are adapting to the new norms.

Fort Frances council passed a resolution that anyone using the indoor recreation facilities and library will be required to produce evidence that they are fully vaccinated. It is a good move. And parents who refuse to become vaccinated will not be able to watch their children figure skate, play hockey or swim.

On Wednesday, the province has mandated that everyone must show proof of vaccine except for children under the age of 12. Quebec has already created a Covid passport and Ontario will role theirs out shortly. Without proof of vaccination, residents will not be able to go to gyms, theatres, or eat at dine in restaurants. People who continue to refuse to be vaccinated will be shunned. It is tough love, but where common sense, gentle persuasion, bribery, and scientific evidence has failed, the removal of privileges and access to many venues may be a deciding factor in getting everyone vaccinated.

This too is good news.

Former Publisher
Fort Frances Times