Vaccine Mandate on Airplanes Unsupported, Absurd

Vaccine Mandate on Airplanes Unsupported, Absurd
Posted on August 13, 2021 | Brendan Riley | Written on August 13, 2021
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Letter type:
Op-Ed

On August 13, 2021, amid a flurry of chatter surrounding the announcement of a snap federal election in Canada, an important announcement by the Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra regarding a vaccine mandate for air travel was made. The minister announced that “certain travellers” would be required to be vaccinated in order to board an airplane in Canada, the assumption being that children ineligible to vaccination would be exempt. This proposal is illogical, contrary to all available evidence about Covid19 transmission, immoral and unconstitutional. If measures such as testing instead of vaccination were not included in the measure, it would also form a de facto ban on leaving the country for many Canadians, residents and visitors, which is contrary to international covenants on fundamental freedoms.

 Israel, as one of the first countries worldwide to mass vaccinate against Covid19, provides a snapshot of what is to come in other countries. The Israeli Ministry of Health announced in late July 2021 that vaccine efficacy against infection appears to drop dramatically after six months, with patients fully vaccinated in January 2021 having only 16 percent protection against infection by July 2021. The declines in efficacy are also related to time elapsed since vaccination, with minor decline noted for those vaccinated four months prior, greater decline by the sixth month, and dramatic decline seven months on. The United Kingdom was also among the first to mass vaccinate, and it has also found evidence of waning protection against infection. Nevertheless, the UK data shows somewhat less dramatic waning, which may be related to vaccine recipients in the UK often waiting eight or more weeks for their second doses, which may make the vaccine regimen more immunogenic on the long term. Canadian provinces have also mostly adopted longer delays, which may turn out to have been a good decision. Israeli recipients typically stuck to the manufacturer timelines, which meant three weeks for Pfizer and four weeks for Moderna vaccines. The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has also acknowledged the increased risk of infection among the vaccinated in August 2021, noting that fully vaccinated individuals can be infected, and can also shed viral loads equal to unvaccinated individuals infected with Covid19.

Since vaccinated individuals not only become infected, but can also spread Covid19 with equal viral loads as unvaccinated people, vaccine mandates have no logical underpinning, especially with regard to everyday activities and fundamental freedoms such as accessing public amenities and services. Proponents of the measure will point to decreased infection rates among the vaccinated as a justification, but this is true mainly in the two to four months after vaccination, and less true with the Delta variant than it was with the Alpha and previous strains of Covid19. Israeli estimates point toward low protection from infection with Delta at 39 percent for those vaccinated with Pfizer, even early after vaccination. This is below the 50 percent efficacy threshold typically required of vaccinations. Increased contagiousness of Delta and waning immunity both make vaccine mandates highly ineffective at their stated goal of reducing the incidence of Covid19 in any given space. There is NO reason to believe that a vaccine mandate can prevent Covid19 from entering an airplane, a hospital, a school, a university, a workplace or Canada as a whole. This would be true regardless of whether mandatory booster regimens were included as part of the vaccine mandates, since protection against infection is already low against Delta without waning immunity.

Canadian governments repeat ad nauseam that each measure that they take, whether logical or not, whether completely contrary to all available evidence or not, is ALWAYS in the best interest of Canadians and of their health. But one could be forgiven for doubting this. Take the sluggishness of Canadian authorities to recognize the protective effect of prior infection with Covid19. Reinfection with Covid19 for those who were previously infected is rare. A recent study from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and MU Health Care showed that out of 9,000 American patients with severe Covid19 and who were not subsequently vaccinated, only 0.7% contracted Covid19 at a later date. Quebec accepts a prior infection with Covid19, followed by a single dose of mRNA or viral vector Covid19 vaccine as sufficient to qualify as “fully vaccinated”. In the European Union, those with positive Covid19 antigen or PCR tests are considered protected for six months past their infection date, after which they have to be vaccinated or regularly tested to qualify for the various ‘health pass’ schemes across the continent. Astonishingly, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) along with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have no measures whatsoever to recognize the protective effect of prior infection. Those recently infected, or infected and then vaccinated with a single dose, are submitted to the exact same health measures as those who are unvaccinated and unexposed to the virus, which is contrary to ALL available scientific evidence.

Another baffling consideration with the vaccine mandates: they are marketed as being a protection from Covid19 for the VACCINATED. Data so far indicate that vaccine protection against severe illness and death remains strong even six months after vaccination. This means that vaccinated people, with the exception perhaps of severely immunocompromised individuals, are largely protected whether or not they catch Covid19. Put another way: if vaccines are effective, then vaccine mandates are illogical because most vulnerable people are already protected against hospitalization and death. If vaccines are INEFFECTIVE, then vaccine mandates are also illogical because they mandate an ineffective response to a problem.  

The push behind vaccine mandates also assumes that there is no logical reason for someone to refuse to get vaccinated. There are many legitimate reasons to refuse to get vaccinated. Every single vaccine approved so far in Canada has been associated with (sometimes rare, sometimes less rare) serious adverse reactions. With viral vector vaccines such as Johnson & Johnson and Astrazeneca, it has been thrombocytopenia (VITT), which had already affected 28 Canadians by early May. Of the 220 initial cases reported in the UK (where Astrazeneca was much more widely used), 22 percent of VITT sufferers died.  With Pfizer and Moderna, heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis and pericarditis) immediately following vaccination has been reported, mainly after second doses. VITT is serious because it can cause death. Myocarditis and pericarditis can also cause death, particularly if not detected early. Any biostatistician worth their money will tell you that the number of deaths PREVENTED by vaccination VASTLY outnumbers the deaths CAUSED by vaccination. But for the small number of families affected by vaccine-induced deaths, the result is tragic nonetheless, and ironic because in many cases those affected had low risk-factors for severe Covid19. The mRNA vaccine-induced myocarditis has been found to be most common in younger men. On July 23, 2021, Nova Scotia announced 22 cases of vaccine-induced myocarditis, mostly in males 20 to 30 according to Dr. Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health. As of July 17, 2021, 20,275 males 18-29 had been fully vaccinated in the province.The data from Nova Scotia suggests a rate of myocarditis on the order of 1/1,000 to 1/4,000 at the very least. In other countries, such as Israel, France, and the US, young men have also been found to be more affected by this rare and serious side effect, primarily after the second dose. Emerging research is also suggesting that vaccine-induced myocarditis for teenage males, 14-18, may be even more common. As Covid19 is RARELY a serious condition for males 14-29, but myocarditis certainly is a serious condition, it is at least UNDERSTANDABLE that many people would rather not get vaccinated given these KNOWN risks. Some Canadians are waiting for the approval of protein-subunit vaccines like Novavax or virus-like particle type vaccines, for example Medicago’s CoVLP. Why doesn’t Ottawa hold on to our orders of these vaccines to vaccinate those who distrust adenovirus viral vector or mRNA-based vaccines? It is also BAFFLING that PHAC has not added recommendations for young men to avoid strenuous physical activity immediately after vaccination by Pfizer and Moderna, as strenuous exercise during acute myocarditis can lead to cardiac arrest, whereas myocarditis will often resolve on its own with rest. PHAC has also failed to emit guidance on precautionary aspiration procedures during Covid19 vaccination, as has the Danish Health Ministry. Emerging research in France and elsewhere points toward inadvertent intraVENOUS administration of Covid19 vaccines as a potential cause for VITT (and maybe even myocarditis/pericarditis). The vaccines are administered in the deltoid muscle, but in a small number of cases, the needle hits a vein and the vaccine enters the bloodstream instead of the muscle. This can be prevented by aspirating before injecting (pulling back on the syringe to check for blood entering), which is standard practice in many countries including Denmark and China but not Canada.

Airplanes are among the safest places anywhere to be confined with many individuals when it come to respiratory pathogens. The air in the cabin is completely replenished and scrubbed by HEPA filters every few minutes. This is more air filtration than you would get on a standard hospital operating block. Despite being political flashpoints SYMBOLICALLY for transmission during the pandemic (because they bring people from A to B), airplanes THEMSELVES as a location are not major sources of Covid19 outbreaks. This is also why a vaccine mandate on airplanes is absurd, particularly in the ABSENCE of more effective measures. In Canada, masking has been made mandatory in many places, including airplanes. But Canadian governments have universally failed to recognize the importance of FILTRATION in masking. Austria and Germany mandated FFP2 masks in all public places, including airplanes, because FFP2 masks (equivalent to N95) protect much better than do cloth masks or even simple surgical masks. How can the Canadian government mandate vaccination (which is largely ineffective against infection with Delta), when it has FAILED to implement N95/FFP2 mask mandates on airplanes, which we have every reason to believe would be more effective?

Vaccine recognition is also a major problem for Canadians, landed immigrants, students or visitors who were vaccinated abroad, since Canada only recognizes vaccines that are approved here. This means Canadians who worked or studied abroad, followed Health Minister Patty Hajdu’s mantra “the first vaccine you can get is the best vaccine you can get”, would now be penalized, BARRED from airplanes, because they got Sputnik, or Sinopharm, or other non-approved vaccines. Their civil rights are being trimmed, curtailed to a very large extent, while they are fully vaccinated and followed all of the recommendations that were given to them throughout the pandemic.

 In Canada, many people have participated in clinical trials for vaccines, whether it is the Covigenix VAX-001, CoVLP (Medicago), COVAC-2 (VIDO), mRNA-1273 or others. All of those people are considered “unvaccinated” by Canadian governments, despite in many cases receiving two doses of Covid19 vaccines. There is irony in a Canadian government that punishes vaccine trial participants, banning them from airplanes, trains, etc., or imposing harsh quarantine hotel penalties on them, when these people put their own health at risk to further scientific research in the fight against Covid19. This is not fictional, it has already been happening for months (quarantine hotels). The message Ottawa, and provincial governments are giving to Canadians is “do not participate in clinical trials, because we will create conditions that severely punish you for your participation.” Canadian governments are fatally undermining Canada as a future location to hold clinical trials for vaccinations. In response to this unfair situation, the UK government announced that all trial participants would be considered “vaccinated”, regardless of whether their status as recipients of real Covid19 vaccine doses were known or not. The Canadian government could do the same thing, or at the very least, it could recognize the status of those participants who have already been unblinded (told whether they received a vaccine or a placebo) and found to have been truly vaccinated (whether or not the trial vaccine has been clinically approved yet, since clinical approval can take months or years).

For all of these reasons and many more, Covid19 vaccine mandates, particularly as related to fundamental rights such as mobility, must be abandoned and fully rejected by people everywhere.

About The Author

Based in Nova Scotia. Studied political science at StFX University and Oxford University. Interests include architecture and timelapse photography.