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Pressure continues on Ford government for mandatory vaccine passports

“It would be mind boggling that we’ve not yet announced doing this in Ontario were our response to date grounded in thoughtfulness. As is? Par for our course,” wrote Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa.
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Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask on after speaking at a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario is extending its stay-at-home order to six weeks, restricting interprovincial travel and limiting outdoor gatherings in an effort to fight a losing battle with COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Pressure continues to build on the Ford government to introduce some sort of vaccine passport across the province.

Quebec’s announcement that it would implement its own passport system sparked a surge in new vaccine appointments, almost doubling overnight to more than 11,000. And that is what some medical experts want to see happen in Ontario.

“It would be mind boggling that we’ve not yet announced doing this in Ontario were our response to date grounded in thoughtfulness. As is? Par for our course,” wrote Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Justin Morgenstern, an emergency physician and assistant professor at the U of T echoes that statement in a tweet, saying: “Sadly, the Ontario government’s refusal to use the basic tools available means that we are firmly back into exponential COVID growth. @fordnation seems to be committed to a 4th wave – which I guess is completely on brand.”

Dr. David Fisman, professor of epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health says passports could, in part, help the economy.

“Vaccine passports, QR readers at the door and attention to vent/hepa are the way to get the hospitality sector back up and running,” he writes. “We have the tools to get restaurants, bars and gyms back to business. If we choose to use them.”

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario published an open letter this past week calling on the Ontario and federal governments to enact vaccine passports. It says the measure is necessary to keep people safe as they enjoy the resumption of non-essential activities such as indoor dining in restaurants, going to the gym, attending concerts and sporting events, and travelling.

“Having a secure passport will allow people who have received both doses of the vaccine to enjoy the things they have been missing out on for the past 17 months,” says RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth. “We are facing dangerous variants and a fourth wave driven by those who aren’t vaccinated; a vaccine passport helps address that.”

So far, premier Doug Ford has rejected the idea of his government implementing mandatory vaccine passports, even for health care workers.

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