Mandates have become the latest tool in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, and indications suggest they can be a very effective one.
Scientific evidence is clear that vaccination is the best way to prevent the most harmful effects of COVID-19, and recent history has shown us that vaccine mandates and passports are met with corresponding spikes in the number of people willing to get vaccinated.
Vaccine mandates have already come into effect for federal workers as well as employees in the health care and transportation sectors. A number of private industries have also followed suit. Here on the south Island, Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, Central Saanich and the Capital Regional District have recently introduced mandates that all of their employees be fully vaccinated.
The Greater Victoria School District board is waiting for more information before deciding whether it will introduce a vaccine mandate for staff. Estimates suggest both SD61 staff and B.C. Teachers Federation members have vaccination rates well above 90 per cent. Following the science provides a clear direction for the SD61 board.
The province reports that 85 per cent of eligible B.C. residents have now received their second dose. Yet the 15 per cent who are not yet fully vaccinated make up more than 64 per cent of the recent cases of COVID-19 and account for more than 76 per cent of hospitalizations.
While some might give more credence to YouTube videos than the word of scientists, the numbers don’t lie. Yes, you have the freedom to risk your health if you want to, but public institutions have an obligation to protect society from those choices that put others at risk. That obligation ultimately rests with the B.C. government and provincial health officials but in this instance, they punted their responsibility to individual school boards. We can only hope trustees will do what’s best for students and the community at large.
We have all grown weary of the restrictions that have been put in place over the past 18 months, but getting vaccinated is the quickest way to put them behind us. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get on with it.
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