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EDITORIAL – Vaccine-mandate mish mash needs to be sorted out

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

AMONG THE FORGOTTEN CASUALTIES of the COVID-19 pandemic are all those who were laid off or fired for refusing to take the jab.

Vaccination mandates are a mishmash across the country. Employers have wrestled with how to ensure their employees are protected from each other — and how best to protect the public they serve.

Forcing workers to be vaccinated on pain of losing their jobs became one of the most controversial aspects of the fight against COVID. Now that many of the mandates have been relaxed and we’re all just “living” with COVID, what to do about them?

The Kamloops school board has abandoned — “paused” in its words — its mandatory vaccination program, no longer requiring employees to provide proof of vaccination or disclose their vaccination status.

At City Hall, unvaccinated employees no longer need to be tested. The battle still rages in some sectors, however.

At B.C. Hydro, a labour arbitrator has upheld a requirement implemented last November that employees be vaccinated. Forty-four union members were forced onto unpaid leave by that policy.

The arbitrator concluded that “The interests that led to the policy outweigh the significant intrusion on the interests of the 44 employees.”

In another case, an arbitrator has upheld the firing of a health counsellor in the Fraser Health Authority for refusing the vaccine. She was one of almost 2,500 health-care employees fired in B.C. for the same reason. (By the way, 908 of those 2,500 were in the Interior Health region.)

Calls to do away with vaccination mandates will, no doubt, increase in the coming weeks as new variants challenge the effectiveness of masks and vaccines. And that will raise new demands for the reinstatement of those who have paid the price for refusing the jab.

Somebody in charge — in B.C. that would be Dr. Bonnie Henry — needs to sort out who should still have to get the jab or the tests and who shouldn’t.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (9118 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Vaccine-mandate mish mash needs to be sorted out

  1. This resistance to science based public health measures is very disturbing . Those who refuse should be identified as being ineligible for any public health care program or services related to the illness or disease, much like public liability auto insurance……without it you are a dangerous liability , in health terms and financial terms.

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