A History of the Persecution of the Unvaccinated in Covid Era Canada

Introduction

On January 18 of this year a Maru opinion poll showed that two thirds of Canadians supported making Covid vaccinations mandatory. An even higher percentage wanted the unvaccinated banned from “entering public spaces and premises such as restaurants, cinemas, libraries, liquor and cannabis stores, and various retail outlets.” And more than a quarter wanted jail time for the unvaccinated.

Japanese-Canadians load into the back of trucks for relocation to camps in the interior of British Columbia — source
data source: Our World in Data
data source: Our World in Data
data source: Our World in Data
data source: Our World in Data

Who are the unvaccinated?

The unvaccinated were typically divided into two groups. The first were the ‘vaccine hesitant’. The hesitant might simply lack easy access to the vaccines, or hadn’t yet been able to find the time to make an appointment, or still had some concerns or fears. Some might be distrustful of the government given their, or their identity group’s, historical experiences with the government.

The vaccine decliners

But this division of the unvaccinated into these two groups of ‘vaccine hesitant’ and ‘anti-vaxxers’ entirely ignored a third group, the ‘vaccine decliners’.

  • these vaccines are the first time mRNA vaccine technology have ever been used outside of clinical trials
  • there are no long-term safety and effectiveness data
  • in the past year alone there have been numerous things that we thought we knew about the vaccines that turned out to be quite different than expected
all deaths reported to Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System by year
source

Ignoring the vaccine decliners

Yet in public discourse this group of conscious vaccine decliners was almost entirely ignored.

  • lack the proper information
  • irrationally reject that information
  • experience anxieties that may need to be treated with therapy or medication so as not to enable vaccine avoidance behavior
  • encountered practical barriers that meant they had not yet had an opportunity to get vaccinated

From persuasion to coercion

Throughout the vaccination campaign open scientific discussion about the risks and benefits of the vaccine — about who might and who might not benefit from taking the vaccine — had been avoided or even suppressed. What had taken place instead was essentially one long promotional campaign calling on everybody who was eligible to get vaccinated.

Opinion polls

Back in January, Prime Minister Trudeau had expressed his opposition to domestic vaccine passports because they would have a “divisive impact” on society. But his official position appeared to have softened in March. While still expressing concerns about equity, fairness and discrimination that would have to be taken into account, he did not express any principled objection. These remarks came a day after the Kantar Group, commissioned by Trudeau’s election staff, had conducted psychographic polling among Canadians concerning their thoughts and feelings about issues related to Covid-19 and the government response. The polling showed that the majority of Canadians trusted the government’s response and were very angry with people who declined to wear masks or get vaccinated.

  • perpetuated the idea that there are no rational grounds for declining the Covid vaccines
  • prominently pointed out how widespread and intense the antipathy against the unvaccinated is among Canadians — even among respectable healthcare professionals
  • explained why such sentiments are understandable
  • failed to point out the role the media and government had played in fueling these sentiments

Weaponizing public opinion

In the summer months Trudeau was far from the only one pointing to the anger among the public to justify finally doing something about the unvaccinated. By then commentators in the media — the vast majority of whom, incidentally, received extra funding from the Trudeau government during the pandemic— had put away the carrots and brought out the stick.

Excluding the unvaccinated

The opinion polls and the intense media campaign for vaccine mandates and passports had an impact. Any opposition there once may have been to these ideas within provincial and federal governments was now gone.

Source: Canada.ca
Source: Our World in Data
Source: Our World in Data

Crackdown on exemptions

Despite the apparent failure of the vaccination campaign to get the virus under control, vaccination continued to be regarded as the only way out. What needed to happen was simply still more vaccination. Boosting the most vulnerable and expanding eligibility to children ages 5–11 were two elements of this. Further increasing the pressure on the unvaccinated another.

Escalation

In November for the first time cases, deaths and hospitalizations were lower than they had been a year earlier. To what extent this was the result of the vaccine passports and mandates, or the mass vaccination program in general, was unclear. What was clear, however, was that just as increased cases, deaths and hospitalizations in September and October had not put a dent in government, media and the public’s commitment to vaccination or in their demonization of the unvaccinated, neither would the decreasing numbers in November and early December.

Source: Our World in Data
Source: Our World in Data
source
  • the negative effects of vaccine passports on society and public health, especially for people in already disadvantaged communities
  • the apparent lack of any attempts to measure the efficacy of vaccine passports
  • the possible slippery slope
  • the lack of focus on those locations that appear to be playing key roles in the spread of the virus
  • the disregard for the role of natural immunity and hence for some of the good reasons people may have to decline Covid vaccination
  • the role of coercion in undermining bodily autonomy and informed consent
  • the loss of trust in public health that may result
source
source

How effective are these vaccines really?

The escalation of the policies and rhetoric against the unvaccinated in early 2022 was troubling in its own right, but it was especially peculiar because of the parallel development that had been taking place and that was undermining the very rationale for the policies and rhetoric: The very high number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths despite very high vaccination rates showed that the vaccines were obviously much less effective at containing the virus than originally thought.

  • transmission
  • symptomatic infection in the medium and long-term
  • severe Covid disease
  • Covid mortality
  • all-cause mortality

Crumbling narrative

Since no better data are available we have to make do with the imperfect data that we do have. And worldwide, despite any biases, pressures and incentives that may have been at play, the data were showing quickly decreasing vaccine effectiveness against infection.

data source: Public Health Ontario
Source: Canada.ca
Source: Canada.ca
source: Public Health Ontario
source: Public Health Ontario

Ignoring alternative solutions

The apparent illogic of the arguments for the exclusion policies was not the only odd thing about the arguments used against the unvaccinated. The practical problem that the unvaccinated were now being blamed for — putting pressure on the healthcare system— was in fact solvable through other, non-coercive means.

Mass Formation

Over the course of the year, something strange had happened to the vaccination campaign and to society’s relationship to vaccination. Initially hailed as the ticket out of the pandemic and the restrictions, it had now become abundantly clear that vaccines could not deliver on this promise. And that effective alternative tools were available.

  1. A lack of social bond
  2. People experiencing life as meaningless and without purpose
  3. The presence of free floating anxiety and free floating psychological discontent
  4. The presence of free floating frustration and anger
Clips from a conversation that podcast host Dan Gregory had with Mattias Desmet (full length interview):

Marginalizing dissent

A society in the grips of mass formation cannot allow anybody or anything that questions or nuances the view of Covid as the supreme problem and of vaccination as the only way out. Any questions, nuances or skepticism will be perceived as existential threats that have to be attacked and destroyed.

It can’t happen here?

Numerous factors had combined to create a volatile situation:

  • the high levels of anxiety, psychological discontent, anger and frustration in society
  • the monomaniacal focus on Covid as society’s greatest problem and on vaccination as the only solution
  • the lack of interest in alternative practical solutions
  • the unscientific and purely punitive basis for many of the measures against the unvaccinated
  • the large public support for those measures
  • the openly hostile and dehumanizing rhetoric
  • the purging of the unvaccinated from key institutions
  • the dearth of voices speaking out against any of this
Credits: RAIR Foundation

Averted or postponed?

At least four major developments seem to have weakened the process of mass formation, and put a brake on the escalation in rhetoric and policy proposals.

source
video credit: @rupasubramanya
  • racism
  • vandalism
  • desecration
  • stealing food from homeless people
  • harassment
  • assault
  • arson
  • rape
  • possession of illegal weapons
  • a plot to overthrow the government
  • being backed by Russia
  • being funded by American extremists

--

--

https://www.twitter.com/KoenSwinkels ::: ForeignPolicyFollies.blogspot.com ::: PhilosophyOfBitcoin.com

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app