Last Friday, 243 Toronto city employees were suspended without pay for failing to properly document their immunization records.
There is no doubt that vaccinations protect us from some of the most common and deadly diseases. In fact, before vaccines were introduced and made possible, once a person had unprotected sex they were twice as likely to contract such deadly diseases as well as the majority of dental and dental-related diseases.
With the introduction of vaccines, almost half of the diseases now known to have a widespread public impact are still present.
There are, however, public health safeguards that must be followed. In some cases, people with non-compliant faith-based or personal health beliefs should not be allowed to avoid immunizations.
And while I strongly believe in the existence of evidence-based science, that is not a valid reason to offer people the option of delay in immunizations.
Yes, any delay is one choice that should not be made without proper documentation and may itself be harmful. But in the thousands of years of the world’s history, the world has never seen one vaccine that has completely protected people from all modern contagious diseases.
That’s why it is important to ensure that we vaccinate everyone. That’s why I and every Canadian who voted for the Protecting Canadian Health Act are working to stop the undue influences of faith-based but non-evidence-based health philosophies on our vaccination rates.
The great national experiment that is Canada is underway, and that includes vaccines.
While many believe that vaccination means extinction, Canada should not have to put its educational system and lives at risk because of those that seek information from untested and non-evidence-based books written decades ago.
Those on vaccination deferments in Canada are disqualified from working for the federal government and can be denied access to many social service programs.
But for many in Toronto, the registry is still open, as well as Ontario health clinics.
Suspension without pay may be viewed as punishment or even a form of punishment. But the criminal record for a few moments spent waiting in line can actually be devastating.
The suspension without pay should simply be seen as a price we’re paying for health care that works for us.
Vaccination is simple and fun and it’s part of your routine, right along with taking your seat in the driver’s seat, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast and paying your taxes.
I hope people will see that decision for what it is, and remember that it is a simple policy choice worth making.
Kyle Boudreau is the Member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Niagara West-Glanbrook. He is a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health and is a member of the Ontario Democratic Caucus.