Case for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination compared to smoking restrictions by MLHU
“We highly, highly, ask you, encourage you, beg you to do it,” London Mayor Ed Holder pleaded with the one in five people in the region who remain unvaccinated during a media briefing on Monday.
Begging people to get vaccinated, however, may not be enough to end the pandemic’s grip on London and Middlesex County.
According to the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU), as of July 17 the local COVID-19 vaccination rate for first shots was at 79.4 among adults.
The rate for second doses was at 58.9 percent.
The slowing vaccination rate means the region risks falling short of the target to control the more transmissible Delta variant.
“If we want to get our vaccination rate up from 80 per cent to 90 per cent, we absolutely need mandatory vaccines,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie. “Not just for health care, but for other places where people would be putting others at risk, including schools, post-secondary and other facilities.”
Mackie adding that mandatory vaccination would, “require some appropriate exemptions for health or religious and philosophical reasons.”
He then compared mandatory vaccination to smoking regulations.
“The same way we have second-hand smoking legislation wherever you are indoors in proximity with others, you can’t smoke (because) you put other people at risk,” explained Mackie.
The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) reports a 70 per cent vaccination rate among its 15,000 employees.
Dr. Adam Dukelow, chief medical officer at LHSC, believes the actual rate to be higher because it’s based on voluntary self-reporting of an employee’s vaccination status.
Dukelow says mandating vaccinations for health-care workers would be up to the province.
“We can’t make those decisions in isolation, and (LHSC) would have to take into account our unions, privacy regulations, and such,” he told the media briefing.
Mackie referred to a decision in France that boosted the vaccination rate among adults when it similarly began to level off below target.
“France introduced vaccine passport requirements for entering into restaurants and saw two-million people sign up within two days,” he explained. “That is the kind of policy that will get us over 80 per cent to the 90 per cent threshold to where we can really put this pandemic to bed.”
Middlesex-London’s vaccination rate will be updated on Tuesday.
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