Shouldn't all the workers who sacrificed themselves early in the pandemic and got COVID get a passport? The healthcare workers, grocery clerks, pharmacists, truckers etc. put themselves on the line everyday. Many got COVID and now have better immunity than they would get via vaccine.

Also, lets face it, we have no idea how many people have been infected since many are asymptomatic and post immunization I suspect many more have had or carry COVID but were either asymptomatic or had symptoms they attributed to a cold or flu.

Its time we stopped living in pandemic mode and shifted to endemic mode. We have the vaccine and the vulnerable have access and soon treatments will arrive that render the disease manageable.

The sooner we start rolling back on the fear mongering from our public health officials and the power we've handed over to politicians the better.

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You appear to have taken a page from Jason Kenney’s and Deena Hinshaw’s “Best Summer Ever” book. Unfortunately, our health care system got somewhat overwhelmed and somewhere around 15 000 surgeries had to be postponed as a result of the“Covid is now an endemic” approach. As a consequence, they decided to impose restrictions into the new year. That those restrictions are having a positive effect on the health care system is relatively evident.

I can understand the reticence of the government here to declare “Best Christmas Ever” in light of that experience. Perhaps you can offer some insight as to why that reticence is unjustified. And to be clear, I have way more empathy for the rights of those who need surgery than I do for those who choose not to be vaccinated, who in the last 120 days have made up 1029 of the 1210 people over 12 who have been admitted to ICU in the province. https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm#vaccine-outcomes

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We are now two years and many hundreds of billions of dollars of spending into the Covid panic. Governments have chosen not to increase health system capacity: instead they have reduced it by firing unvaccinated (and yet immune due to prior infection) health care workers and aggressively capping the pay of the remainder. It is simply no longer tenable to use health system capacity as an argument for violating anybody's rights.

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My view of the position of the deliberately unvaccinated, “I should have both the right and the freedom to get Covid, to take no measures to keep from spreading it to others, and to have taxpayers pay whatever it takes to take care of me if I get ill.” Over 1 000 people in Alberta in the last 120 days have taken advantage of that freedom to arrive in the ICU.

This is essentially the position which the Alberta government supported when they opened up for summer. They changed their mind when they recognized three things. The resources at their disposal were too limited to deal with the problem, it was having a significant impact on dealing with non-Covid health issues, and there was no way of determining how much bigger the problem would get. There are probably projections of what the number in ICU would be now had no measure been taken -hard to think that they, and the related costs, would not be substantially higher. Your position seems to be that cost is irrelevant when someone’s perceived freedom is jeopardized.

I am something of a fiscal conservative. Although I believe that taxation is necessary to advance the public good, I do believe that throwing money at people who disregard the health and welfare of others is money ill spent. The notion of demanding rights while abrogating responsibility does not sit well with me.

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Ed, I was arguing that those who've had covid should be given a passport and not forcibly injected with a vaccine that studies have shown to be less effective that the immunity one gains from having been infected.

We are over 80% double vaxxed and soon treatments will be available. At what point do you suggest we get back to living? When the disease is eradicated? At some point we have to stop moving the goalposts.

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Perhaps I should clarify. I do think that if immunity is acquired and retained after having the disease, that should be accepted as sufficient. However, my response was related to your comment, “Its time we stopped living in pandemic mode and shifted to endemic mode.” I attempted to point out that Alberta tried that and determined it a failure, and so adjusted its approach. You are free to disagree, but in doing so, you must deem overwhelmed ICU’s and thousands of postponed surgeries as an acceptable cost. That is a position which neither the Alberta government nor I agrees with.

At what point do I feel that Covid should be treated as an endemic? When treating it as an endemic is not going to result in a crippled health care system. If you can offer some evidence to suggest that we are there now, I would be happy to consider it.

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The efficacy claim is completely the wrong framing. The vaccine efficacy is with respect to the recipient in getting the disease, COVID-19. It isn't the efficacy of the viral (SARS-CoV-2) infection or secondary transmission to other people.

Even the Government's own science advisories say there is no basis for claiming that unvaccinated people are a higher risk of getting or transmitting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They are only at higher risk of getting the disease themselves. Think of the vaccines like sunscreen; it helps you, but only you. It might even be near 100% perfect at it. But, vaccinated people still breath in the virus, it still sits in their nose, mouth, throat, lungs, mucus, and saliva, and they can carry it around and breath it out on people. The antibodies from the vaccines help keep it from getting inside the bloodstream and causing the disease -- COVID-19 -- symptoms.

For transmissibility, read the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) Advisory Committee Statement: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/immunization/national-advisory-committee-on-immunization-naci/recommendations-use-covid-19-vaccines.html

"There is currently limited evidence on the duration of protection and on the efficacy of these vaccines in reducing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, although studies are ongoing.” In the section “Efficacy and effectiveness against asymptomatic infection and transmission”. It notes the data is preliminary and “current data is insufficient to draw conclusions”.

Risk of transmission is a product of both transmissibility and risk of exposure, and now by far it is vaccinated people who are at risk of exposure. From Health Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/main-modes-transmission.html

"the virus is most frequently transmitted when people are in close contact with others who are infected with the virus (either with or without symptoms). We also know that most transmission occurs indoors. Reports of outbreaks in settings with poor ventilation suggest that infectious aerosols were suspended in the air and that people inhaled the virus at distances beyond 2 metres. Such settings have included choir practice, fitness classes, and restaurants, as well as other settings.”

Or read the latest summary in the Lancet: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s10654-021-00808-7.pdf

Yes, hopefully viral loading is lower, but that is only one small component of transmission risk. As the paper even notes, the fact that vaccines protect you against symptoms means that vaccinated people are more likely to be carrying it around, even at lower viral load, and spreading it without knowing they are even infected. Unvaccinated people are more likely to get symptoms and isolate.

If you actually calculate the risk of transmission, a vaccinated person is a higher risk because of the exposure factor alone. Even if vaccines reduce infection and viral loading by 50%, just a doubling of risk of exposure of vaccinated people in restaurants, gyms, and airplanes nullifies that savings.

To quote a microbiologist I was discussing this with, we can all be a "Typhoid Mary" and not know it. We just don't know enough yet about which factors matter most and how to control the spread. Vaccination status of other people around you is not a risk factor at this point.

Politicians and the press need to listen to us scientists and read the science, and do the risk calculations.

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Thank you for writing a well balanced analysis about these coercive mandates. Because I am in the older demographic, and due to my job, I am fully vaccinated. I, however, understand the hesitancy by some, especially those younger and in good health. Just watching the results of the VAERS database is unnerving. Not to mention hearing about the serious breakdown in protocol at a Pfizer Covid research center. (https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2635?utm_source=ground.news&utm_medium=referral)

I was always in favour of the targeted approach put forward by The Great Barrington Declaration. Considering the waning efficacy of the vaccines and the fact that you can still catch and transmit covid, targeting the demographic more likely to be hospitalized just makes all the more sense. It's really not too late. Leave the young and healthy alone. Let it be their choice to vaccinate.

Even the WHO is calling on Western countries to tone it down. There are many developing countries that still need to vaccinate their most vulnerable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGCK8Z27xd0&list=PLuGGLs2Z6d2OimyNg5gIFg6pm2RL_QvJF&index=3

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Bravo! So good (and unusual) to someone in even quasi-mainstream media actually address these issues with knowledge, intelligence, and moral decency. These days, far too many pundits are conspicuously lacking in all three.

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Wow - they’re really straining with this rationale: “ Infected vaccinated people have also been shown to have the same peak viral loads as infected unvaccinated people, meaning that there is little difference in transmission rates between the two groups, conditional on being infected.”

“Conditional on being infected” of course glosses over the 85-95% effectiveness of full vaccination at preventing infection in the first place. That alone indicates that a policy of full vaccination would significantly reduce spread within the workplace and to customers. It’s hard to believe that the authors would try to dismiss that in good faith.

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Yeah, that raised my eyebrows as well. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2294250-how-much-less-likely-are-you-to-spread-covid-19-if-youre-vaccinated/amp/

I was also puzzled by the comment about the coerciveness of vaccination as a condition of employment "in the absence of a welfare state." This doesn't seem like the best line of argument, since we do in fact have a welfare state. The question is whether the condition is reasonable.

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Have you heart about Gibraltar? It's the most vaccinated place on Earth (all adults have been fully vaxxed since March) and they just cancelled Christmas due to rising covid cases. By the 6 month mark, efficacy drastically drops.

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As long as there's some reduction of risk to the employee, and to other employees, from workplace exposure, I don't see why lack of perfect efficacy can constrain the requirement to have PPE. Seat belts don't provide perfect protection against accident, neither do helmets not steel-toed boots, but you can mandate them for a job site or driving job, to lower risk to the corporation.

I don't see why the court would say the co-workers have to accept added risk imposed by their job because their employer is unable to keep them safe from aerosol assault in the workplace.

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No mention of liability? If an employer mandates a vaccine, are they liable for any adverse effects?

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Yes, if your PPE harms you, then you have a case. Employers can purchase insurance against this - very cheaply, probably $1M of insurance per death, $100,000 per injury, for about $2 per vaccinated employee, given the odds; they'll just add it to the policy for 100 other workplace injuries they must already insure against.

The much, much bigger question is whether those who've been hurt or died because their employer gave them a take-the-risk-of-COVID-or-be-fired choice. I really think the meat packing plants should be paying out in the tens of millions.

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this analysis neglects the reality of the unvaccinated providing environments in which variants can mutate. This represents both a public health risk, as well as an acute risk to coworkers.

With omicron doing the rounds, it would be interesting to see the authors reconsider the broader context of infection. Otherwise, the “waning immunity” is clearly a strawman argument.

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The article appears well researched academically. It does fail to discuss the position of health care public and private sector unions who will make a determination whether to proceed with these grievances after assessing their responsibilities under the duty of fair representation provisions found in the various provincial Labour Codes. There is a good chance many will decide not to proceed with grievances after weighing the various factors. This is in fact an absolute bar to grievances proceeding.

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