In the middle of the Christmas season, no less, the prime minister returned to his spiteful attacks, blaming unvaccinated Canadians for the rising COVID-19 cases. The jab, he unimaginatively still claims, “is the only way out.” But in today’s fast-evolving viral environment, that’s yesterday’s thinking.
Accusing the unvaxxed is so July 2021. It was then that the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky launched the expression “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” The phrase became a mantra for the medical-industrial complex, and it has dominated months of COVID-19 discourse.
Health bureaucrats and politicians invoked it to blame rising Delta variant infections on people who reject the injections for ethical, philosophical, religious, or scientific reasons. Imitating Walensky, vaccinologist Peter Hotez called it a “pandemic of the partially vaccinated,” as he simultaneously peddled doom and made false claims that the injections produced immunity. The blame messaging implied the injected can’t get infected, a claim Canadian politicians and health bureaucrats have incessantly parroted.
Rambling Joe Biden repeated Walensky’s expression the day it was uttered, and has kept on doing so. As recently as Dec. 14, 2021, Biden continued to lie, saying people who are jabbed “do not spread the disease to anyone else.”
Soon after Biden began falsely blaming the unjabbed for spreading the virus, most universities in Canada announced a policy to exclude them. Provinces, the federal government, and many Canadian businesses and industries chose the same.
The lies turned into attacks. Prime Minister Trudeau’s summer election campaign openly targeted Canadians rejecting the injections. He attacked them as a “small fringe” of “special interest groups,” a “mob,” “anti-science,” “racist,” and “misogynistic.” His insults don’t rest on science, and to make it worse Trudeau accused these voters of endangering children for supposedly “putting at risk their own kids, and…putting at risk our kids as well.” Trudeau expressed fear his own children would be infected, despite well-established science that COVID-19 is no great risk to children. Like Biden, Trudeau absurdly anointed himself the protector of the vaccinated.
Even Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, seeking shelter from the calamitous results of his poor judgment, aped Biden on September 3 saying: “this is essentially now a crisis of the unvaccinated.” Once again, Kenney blamed those “who have chosen not to be vaccinated” for the troubles of a system that he and the provincial health bureaucrats have been unwilling to reform and improve.
Meanwhile, scientists reported in Massachusetts — during the same month the new mantra was coined — 74% of new COVID-19 cases detected during various events were among the vaccinated, 79% of whom were symptomatic. Since then, growing evidence shows the vaccinated are considerable vectors of transmission. The authors concluded “it is therefore wrong and dangerous to speak of a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Across Canada throughout the fall, even legacy media have half-heartedly acknowledged and reported widespread infections involving prominent injected federal and provincial politicians, and among patrons in restaurants and sports events.
The vaccinated keep spreading COVID-19 and are getting sick. Ontario’s data released December 30 show 70% of its 605 cases in hospital are vaccinated. One-third of its ICU cases are now vaxxed. The province with the most draconian restrictions and 84% injection compliance, Quebec, also has rampant infection growth, but doesn’t parse data for injections. The notoriously unreliable Alberta Health Services data show the share of the injected being hospitalized is growing rapidly, closing on 50%.
One would think these developments would slow down the irrational vitriol against uninjected Canadians. But Trudeau claims to follow the science and does the opposite.
As Quebec all but admitted hurting uninjected workers “to protect” the injected was nonsense from the start. Considering the uninjected have been widely constrained for several months now, forbidden to work, fly, eat at restaurants, and attend sports gatherings, it’s ludicrous to continue blaming them for the renewed contagion that originated elsewhere. In addition, their share among the infected and hospitalized continues to shrink.
Attacking the uninjected and claiming dishonestly the injections produce immunity are highly divisive and harmful tactics whether from Kenney or from Trudeau. The attacks stoked fears, undermined public authority, and advanced nothing but baser instincts. They will not stop the virus. Neither will refuting scientific evidence with wrong and dangerous claims.
There is no virology in scapegoating. Acting responsibly on the knowledge the injected are a crucial vector of infection has a better chance of protecting vulnerable lives and finding a way out.
Marco Navarro-Genie is president of the Haultain Research Institute and research fellow with the Frontier Centre. He is co-author, with Barry Cooper, of COVID-19: The Politics of a Pandemic Moral Panic (2020)