Vaccine objectors pay a price for their stand

What principles do the unvaccinated hold so dearly that they are ready to sacrifice their jobs and face ridicule and scorn?

Nurses in Kamloops are giving up the careers that they have worked so hard to establish: well-paying jobs with benefits and pensions. All because of a jab in the arm?

Kamloops nurse Glenn Aalderink second from right. Image: Kamloops This Week

To lay off nurses is a tough decision for the labour-friendly B.C. NDP government.  Health Minister Adrian Dix called it a “significant and solemn day,” but said that the requirement to get vaccinated “is an absolute necessity in our healthcare system.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been trying to figure out the rationale of unvaccinated health workers. “Some people are quite dogmatic against vaccines, which is unfortunate,” she said.

Kamloops nurse Glenn Aalderink is feeling hurt and rejected.  “We`re not being allowed to help. We were told we weren’t wanted, we weren’t needed — and yet, we know we are,” he said.

Aalderink is so dedicated that he is setting up a private clinic Kamloops –a clinic that the Health Minister says must be staffed by vaccinated healthcare workers. Since then, the clinic has been shut down by the landlord.

Other Kamloopsians opposed to receiving the shot are also paying dearly.

Kamloops City councillor Denis Walsh has come out against being vaccinated. I know Walsh and he is not an irrational man. He’s opposed to the conspiracy theories of the antivaxxers and has received flack from that side.

Now he’s being shunned from the other provaxxer side. His coffee shop business may be affected.  He may well pay a political price as well, and he says that he’s already lost some friends over it.

Kamloopsian Beat Klossner is opposed to this vaccination. We have lively back-and-forth exchanges on Facebook; agreeing that workers rights and wages are threatened but disagreeing over his comparisons of vaccine passports to Nazism.

Klossner is community-minded and has run provincially as MLA for the Communist Part of B.C. and for the Kamloops School Board.

Klossner seems like a reasonable guy but is opposed to the way COVID vaccines have been imposed. He made it clear to me that he is not an antivaxxer. He’s had many vaccines in his life. “It is this specific COVID case I have a problem with,” he told me by Messenger.

Klossner is resigned to his fate: “I made my choice, I live with it. I’m not allowed to travel, to go to a pub or other public places, etc. I’m fully expecting in a few months, at the most, I’ll not be allowed to earn a living anymore.”

I asked: “Do you feel like a martyr? Going down for a cause?”

Klossner replied: “No, but I made my choice and will live with it.”

In an attempt to understand why someone would make such sacrifices, I asked him:  “What is the principle on which you would sacrifice your liberty and ability to work.”

He replied: “I’m not certain what is going on, but there is something bigger in the background. Many guesses and theories are floating around. While many are ridiculous, they also always seem to have something that could be possible.”

There seems to be some dark, ominous feelings that those opposed this vaccine have. The vaccine has gone beyond a simple jab in the arm and taken on totemic properties.

Coronavirus tests Canada’s character

Canadians are seen as “nice” people, sensible, proud of Canada but not jingoistic, modest, not fanatically religious. The way we respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic will further define who we are.

Nice Canadian

The response to the pandemic in the U.S. has been politicized, similar to the response to climate change, with President Trump initially calling COVID-19 a hoax cooked up by his political opponents. Apparently some Republicans are following Trump’s initial lead and not socially isolating themselves by going to bars.

Canada can be an oasis of calm amid the global coronavirus freak-out. Political leaders can instil a sense of calm and confidence. One of those is Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer. She has become the face of Canada’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Canadians are rising to the challenge of a worsening novel coronavirus outbreak, going out of their way to be kind. Jason Dudas of Kamloops posted on Facebook:

“A co-worker told me about an elderly woman collapsing at a North Shore grocery store this weekend. If you are in a lower risk group and can help out elderly people you know with shopping you will be helping with keeping them safe at home, using extra sanitary precautions around them. If high risk groups don’t change their behaviour we will have a serious run on our health care system. But if we all work together then can make it through this situation.”

Kyle Ashley in Toronto posted a sign in the lobby of his downtown building offering to provide whatever assistance he could. “It’s like a war,” Ashley said, referring to the pandemic. “We will have bad actors, but good will come out.”

I have just returned from Mexico and will to self-isolate for two weeks. Neighbours have offered to buy groceries for me. It’s going to be tough to cut off contact with others, not going for coffee or to meetings at the society where I volunteer.  Social isolation is important, especially for travelers returning to Canada who have gone through busy airports. It’s voluntary but it’s the right thing to do; the only way to “flatten the curve” and slow down the spread which could potentially affect more than half of Canadians.

This isn’t panic, it’s just good citizenship under adverse social conditions.

Universal healthcare defines how we care for each other. Healthcare puts the common good above that of individual desire. Responsible Canadians will weigh what they individually want and what is in the public good. Canadian professor of philosophy Mark Gerald Kingwell says:

“Politics is a series of bargains between individual desire and collective good. What always remains is the goal of robust public trust. Community health is a shared good, just like education, transit infrastructure and building standards. It’s a concept that people against vaccines, flu-shot refuseniks, and turnstile jumpers everywhere just don’t seem to grasp (Goble and Mail, March 12, 2020).”

Herd mentality is not in the common good. Canadian’s response to COVID-19 will demonstrate our steely resolve in the face of adversity. We can hold our heads high with pride in the measures we take to stop the spread of this pandemic.

 

Homoeopathy debate re-ignited

Questions about the practice of homoeopathy have been re-ignited by two recent events. One has to do with a homeopathic rabid-dog-saliva treatment and the other about the retrial of a couple originally found guilty of failing to provide for the necessities of life.

Samuel Hahnemann   image: thefamouspeople.com

 

If you thought that dog spit was an effective treatment because Health Canada approved it, you would be wrong. Health Canada approved rabid dog saliva and 8,500 other homeopathic remedies, not because they are effective but because they have concluded that they are safe. Health Canada doesn’t test these remedies for efficacy.

Other homeopathic treatments are made from cancerous cells, black mould and the smallpox virus; they sound dangerous until you realize just how much they have been diluted.

The founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, devised a dilution system that he called “C scale.” Homeopathy claims that the more remedies are diluted, the more effective they are. A 6C dilution will result in the original substance being diluted to one part in a million million. Kamloops’ tap water has a million times more naturally occurring fluorides than such remedies.

No wonder Heath Canada has deemed homeopathic remedies to be safe. They are purer than the water we drink. So, why go to all that trouble to make pure water?  The difference between pure water and homoeopathic pure water, homeopaths claim, is that the later contains a “memory” of the original substance even when it is diluted virtually out of existence.

A Vancouver Island naturopath got into trouble when she provided a remedy containing (or not containing, depending on the dilution) rabid-dog saliva. Anke Zimmermann, gave a child lyssin because he demonstrated behavioural issues after a dog bite. The problem, according to Health Canada, had nothing to do with the fact that it contained rabid-dog saliva: five others had been approved. The problem was this one, lyssin, which is made in Britain and not approved.

People can imagine whatever they want, but if they think they are taking medicines when they are drinking pure water, that’s a worry. B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Bonnie Henry, wrote Health Canada expressing her concerns.

“I believe all of these products that are purportedly based on infectious or dangerous material should not be classified as ‘medicines’ and should not be regulated as health products (Globe and Mail, May 13, 2018),” Dr. Henry said in an e-mail.

Professor Bernie Garrett at the University of British Columbia’s nursing school says:

“It’s absurd that these homeopathic remedies should be licensed for use when technically, they’re nothing more than water because of the dilution process. But they still cause harm by delaying access to effective treatment and by causing people to lose money.”

David Stephan and his wife, Collet, were found guilty in 2016 of failing to provide the necessaries of life for 19-month-old Ezekiel. They treated him with garlic, onion and horseradish rather than take him to a doctor. Ezekiel’s body was so stiff from meningitis that he couldn’t sit in his car seat. She took him to naturopathic clinic in Lethbridge on a mattress where she bought an echinacea mixture. Ezekiel died later.

The Supreme Court allowed a new trial based on a technicality. The couple appealed the original decision and lost. But because appeal court’s ruling wasn’t unanimous, the couple had an automatic right to take their case to the Supreme Court.

Michael Kruse, executive director of Bad Science Watch, is blunt in his assessment of homeopathy:

“These self-regulated professions are based on magical thinking, and until provincial governments take responsibility to be the arbiter of what is scientific and what is not, the doors are open for any profession with a training program and standard of practice to make potentially deadly claims.”