Science seems different at the University of Western Ontario.
Western University, one of Ontario’s largest and most prestigious universities, has announced that it is enacting a COVID-19 plan that appears to have been drawn up in September 2020 rather than 2022.
The plan requires all students, staff, and faculty to provide proof that they have received at least three doses of an approved vaccine. Also, masks must be worn while in the classroom.
This is an even broader policy than the University of Toronto’s mandating three injections for dormitory students, and likely not the last university policy to go too far.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, is moving toward a risk-ratio-based approach to questions such as who needs to be vaccinated. He also doesn’t recognize the need for mandatory mask-wearing in schools and says he won’t reinstate such measures unless the health system is overwhelmed by the rising number of COVID cases.
Not so in Ontario at this time.
South of the border, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Biden administration released relaxed COVID guidance on immunizing, quarantining, and screening people without symptoms.
Westerns are back towards compulsory vaccinations, masking and daily screening of asymptomatic people.
It makes no sense at all, especially given that most students in schools are young, healthy people who are not at risk of serious consequences from COVID-19. When asked about telling young people to get boosters last month, Dr. Moore said he could only take personal circumstances into consideration, but he just said they needed to get them. I was.
“Depending on your personal circumstances, it’s definitely a ‘may’ rather than a ‘should’,” Moore said. If you’re on chemotherapy, do you look to see if you’ve been in contact with anyone through your job or in your personal settings? Absolutely.”
He also said that for many young and healthy people the risk may not be worth the benefit of continuing to get boosters.
“For example, we know that there is a very small risk (1 in 5,000) of being able to develop myocarditis. We need to talk about young, healthy people,” Moore said.
Such an argument cannot happen to young and healthy students of the West or the University of Toronto who wish to live on campus. They may have been fully vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine, but we are now told that it is not enough.
Infectious disease expert Neil Lau, PhD, questions the value of this policy.
“Doing it in a young, healthy population is really questionable. It’s intervening in the wrong place at the wrong time in the evolution of COVID,” said Rau.
He is also concerned that this policy of not following public health advice has been copied by other large institutions, demonstrating that they are being the most cautious. Yes, states may have to step in and take action.
Universities are independent institutions, yet states transfer billions of dollars to them each year. In other words, the government has influence. Perhaps it is time for Prime Minister Doug Ford and his University Minister Jill Dunlop to call and urge schools to follow real public health advice rather than enacting policies based on fear of science. It may be.
Ontario students have been through a lot over the last few years. You should not face unnecessary restrictions necessary to return to normal school years.