The divisiveness that COVID-19 brought has continued to grow well past restrictions ending in Alberta. While the drive to get vaccinated is not nearly as high as it once was, UCP leader and Premier Danielle Smith made some highly suspect comments in her first press conference.
Whether or not you are vaccinated, you cannot honestly say those who were unvaccinated are “the most discriminated group of people” that she has seen in her lifetime. Even if you agree that those that were unvaccinated were persecuted, do you really believe the discrimination was more than other groups of people? Muslims have had their churches shot up simply for being Muslim, people of colour consistently deal with discrimination, Canada had residential schools up until 1997, and gay marriage wasn’t even legal until 2005, the LGBTQ+ community is constantly persecuted and are targeted in violence in this province, and right now, Ukrainians are fighting to keep control of their country as Russia’s invasion continues to fail.
The list can go on and on — But yes, Premier Smith, those who were unvaccinated and couldn’t go to the local arena to watch hockey or go to a restaurant for a few months were the most discriminated groups of people. Those two years sucked for everyone — vaccinated or unvaccinated — and if you didn’t get vaccinated, that was your choice. People being persecuted for being different skin colour or sexual orientation don’t have that choice.
If Smith wants to build the community back up after COVID-19, maybe actually do that instead of constantly making remarks trying to stir up more controversy just for the sake of it. Smith walked those comments back just a day later, but there wasn’t an apology. Not surprising, but the fact she thought those remarks would go over well is truly mind-blowing.
The editorial cartoon that ran last week concerning these comments saw some pushback from our readers. We understand some of those issues with the cartoon, and there certainly could have been a better tact in highlighting Smith’s comments and not necessarily targeting those who chose not to be vaccinated. That being said, Smith was the one to bring this back to the limelight — and not very tastefully we might add.
While there has been tons of finger-pointing around COVID vaccinations over the past several days after Smith’s comments, here’s some information gathered from the Government of Alberta:
-90.9 per cent of 12 and over are vaccinated at least once
-87.4 per cent have two doses
According to AHS, “vaccines are tested in the laboratory and in people (clinical trials). Vaccines must pass a strict licensing process with the federal government before they can be used. Once a vaccine has been approved for use, every batch that is made at the same time (called a ‘lot’) is tested for safety and quality. Canada and other countries also continually monitor the safety of vaccines being used.”
And while many have said, “the vaccine has not prevented people from getting COVID”, it was never stated it would. According to AHS, the vaccines can lower complications in high-risk people, pneumonia, hospital admissions, deaths in older adults, doctor appointments, hospital admissions, and deaths in high-risk people between ages 18 and 64 years. Is it 100 per cent effective? No, but what is in life? There’s nothing 100 per cent guaranteed. The federal government’s website states, “All approved COVID-19 vaccines used in Canada continue to be very effective at protecting against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.”
In Canada, health-infobase.canada.ca states there have been 89,323,181 does administered, 51,035 have seen total adverse events following (0.057 per cent), 40,712 have seen total adverse events following immunization that were non-serious (0.046 per cent), and 10,323 saw total adverse events following immunization reports that were serious (0.012 per cent).
According to cdc.gov, Anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination is rare, Myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination are rare and reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. Does it happen? Yes, but it’s few and far between. We’ve seen people pointing to billions of deaths due to the vaccine — let’s be clear here, that’s false. According to cdc.gov, during this time, VAERS received 16,888 preliminary reports of death (0.0027%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC and FDA clinicians review reports of death to VAERS including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records.
Another false claim that has been made over and over again was that the vaccines were rushed into production. According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, “The science behind the new COVID-19 vaccines has not been rushed. In fact, these vaccines are building on decades of scientific research. The story involves hundreds of people all over the world and highlights the importance of fundamental and applied research. Advancements in our understanding of messenger RNA (mRNA) and its potential for use in medicines, along with the creation of new technologies over the last 30 years, made these vaccines possible. Recent research on coronaviruses, in particular, made these vaccines effective.”
Because of the decades-long research, the vaccines were able to move out quickly. But this was not something done overnight or in a few weeks. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research website further explains “These vaccines—and the ones that use messenger RNA (mRNA), in particular—are building on decades of scientific research.” It’s explained they used fundamental research (focuses on the underlying mechanisms of biology and the cellular, molecular, and physiological basis for health and disease) and applied research (teases out the knowledge acquired through fundamental research in the hopes of putting it to a specific use, like new medicines and therapies).
Listen, it’s alright to question things, but in this case, the science is pointing in one direction. The vast majority of health experts say that vaccines are safe and effective. Not all doctors do, sure, but as mentioned before — when does anything see 100 per cent effectiveness or agreement? If you didn’t get vaccinated, that’s fine — we’re back to relative normal now and no one is asking to see your vaccine passports anymore. We all knew it would pass and it has. But this talk of being the most persecuted people over the past several years is not correct. Those who made a choice to not be vaccinated led to undesired outcomes for some — but that was a choice made.