During his testimony in front of the Commons Health Committee, Dr. David Jacobs, president of the Ontario Association of Radiologists, blasted Trudeau’s comments on unvaccinated Canadians.
“It was a uniquely unhelpful thing the Prime Minister did when he said that”, referring to Justin Trudeau’s comments on unvaccinated Canadians, qualifying them as a racist fringe group, holding unacceptable views.
“It was politically driven. It did not help anyone in the health care industry. It did not convince anyone to change their mind”, Dr. Jacobs added.
Over the last year, Justin Trudeau and his liberal cabinet have often portrayed Canadians who chose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as extremists, racists, and dangerous individuals.
In August 2021, Trudeau said unvaccinated Canadians were “putting at risk their own kids” and “putting at risk our kids as well”, despite mounting evidence that vaccines did not stop the spread of COVID-19.
“These are extremists who don’t believe in science […] They are often misogynists, also often racists. It’s a small group of people that muscles in and we have to make a choice. Do we tolerate these people?” Trudeau said in September, despite evidence that for healthy, young individuals, the vaccine offers little to no added benefits.
“People who remain unvaccinated right now are very much a mixed bag of people […] Name-calling is not helpful”, Dr. Jacobs said.
Dr. Jacobs also questioned the Trudeau government’s vaccine mandates: “In terms of mandates, yes, Omicron was highly contagious, and no, the vaccines didn’t do much in terms of preventing spread of Covid. If it did it was minimal.”
“That takes away some of the need for a vaccine mandate except, except – and this is the big exception – what we saw in the hospital were patients who were immunosuppressed, elderly, so de facto immunosuppressed, and patients who did not receive a full vaccine regimen, they were the ones who were getting very severe Covid pneumonias,” Jacobs added.
Dr. Shiri Kaylan, professor of medicine at UBC also questioned the mandates in her testimony before the Commons: “If we had focused on protecting the most vulnerable it would have gone farther than putting blanket mandates on everyone because that actually has the potential to increase vaccine hesitancy and trust in vaccines and the public health care system in general”.
“It is clear, especially with Omicron, the vaccines we have cannot really be relied upon to either prevent transmission or infection. An example: The first Omicron case in Israel came from a triple-vaccinated doctor returning from a conference who passed it on to another triple-vaccinated physician”, Dr. Kaylan added.
“With this evidence we should have moved quickly to lift heavy-handed measures and explain the evolving evidence. This is necessary for public trust. It is also good for public health to have a well-informed populace. Having a false sense of security has obvious negative consequences.”