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Opinion: Dave Dale: Vaccine waivers, ICU triage better than mandate mentality

Those who choose, upon their own volition, to not participate by eschewing vaccination can accept a waiver of consequence. ICU care and ventilators for COVID patients can be triaged for those who take the vaccines and those who are exempted
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When exactly will the sun set on vaccine mandates?

It’s becoming clearer by the day that the SARS-CoV 2 pandemic has revealed a precarious connection between reality, politics and health care policy. Or put another way, we’ve entered uncharted waters and any sense of certainty has evaporated. The least trustworthy at this juncture are those saying they know for sure which way to go next.

The so-called ‘freedom’ convoy of truckers passing through the North Bay area Friday on route to the nation’s capital is a fairly good reflection of the situation.

We have a genuine concern for individual rights and the limits of governmental control mixing with extremist politics for an insurrection-like high-noon encounter. And the worst parts of America, the same people responsible for January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C., are fanning the flames and fueling the chaos. It sickens me to watch it play out with such bad actors wearing “hero” capes while real heroes tend to the cross-fire casualties gasping their last breaths. I don’t like seeing good people get used and abused.

Somebody with access to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ear might want to discuss strategies to de-escalate the situation sooner than later.

The conversation should be about how the vaccine mandate to cross the border, which may have made a bit of sense in dampening COVID-19 waves last fall, doesn’t hold as much water anymore. The Omicron variant is the game-changer, indeed, as it has reduced the projected power of the vaccine to curtail the spread. Natural immunity created by surviving infection is now accepted by even the CDC as an equivalent or better shield against severe illness (especially when combined with vaccine). And a 14-day quarantine for those entering Canada is ludicrous when a person actually sick with COVID is being told they can return to work after five days.

This should justify reconsideration of certain aspects of public health mandates – especially when evaluating our limited resources for both the health care infrastructure and economic supply chains.

If Trudeau lets it fester further and believes there’s a victory to be had by repeating his father’s martial law checkmate, we’re all going to pay a steeper price than necessary.

Like a GPS unit that has lost its way, there should be a voice in the heads of all leaders right now: “Recalculating …”

If the goal of the vaccine mandate is to primarily protect hospital ICUs from being over-run so other patients can get treatment, there are options available to maintain our public health integrity. The state can still operate within its social democratic way while choosing vaccines as the most efficient and cost-effective way to proceed. Those who choose, upon their own volition, to not participate by eschewing vaccination can accept a waiver of consequence. ICU care and ventilators for COVID patients can be triaged for those who take the vaccines and those who are exempted. Those who opt-out can be offered secondary level care, whatever is available. Turning on the taps for early infection treatment, whatever a person and their doctor decide is best, is also worth additional consideration.

Obviously, insurance companies providing health benefit plans for businesses and their employees will make their own calculations, based on public health policy too.

Even without the trucker convoy, it’s time to rethink our strategies to match the current information and knowledge gained during the past two years. A lot of trust has eroded due to the clumsy government response so far, including questionable management of data collection and communication.

The zero-sum game of forcing vaccination with punishments and exclusions isn’t going to work out well in the long run. It nurtures the extremes and divides rather than unites. We need other options, it takes too long for someone to catch up, even if they decided to get on board.

P.S. The convoy organizers and participants might want to consider the calamity they risk between the single lanes of the TransCanada Highway between Corbeil and Deep River. One jack-knifed transport will cause a significant standstill in the depths of winter. Might want to consider fuel and food will be an issue, which is probably why the association of truckers is against rolling truck demonstrations.

Also worth learning from this pandemic and the limits of health care infrastructure – it’s a good idea to take care of yourself as much as possible. The social safety net stretches far but it’s porous, and good health is worth all the gold in the world.

DISCLOSURE: My first dose of vaccine was Moderna, second was Pfizer and I had no issues. The booster is scheduled for Thursday afternoon (Moderna). And I support the mask mandates for public places, other than the illogical restaurant rules. As for schools, well … I’d be disappointed in my union if I was a teacher and not too pleased with my school board and provincial leadership if I was a parent of school-age children.

Dave Dale is a veteran journalist and columnist who has covered the North Bay area for more than 30 years. Reader responses meant as Letters to the Editor can be sent to To contact the writer directly, email: or check out his website 


Dave Dale

About the Author: Dave Dale

Dave Dale is a veteran journalist who has been writing about Northern Ontario issues for more than three decades.
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