No, Nova Scotia is NOT Safer Today

Today, the Province announced that 960 workers in healthcare, continuing care, EHS and education are now on unpaid leave as a result of not complying with the vaccine mandate. An additional 93 civil servants are on unpaid leave for the same reason. As if this is a sort of victory, Premier Houston stated:

“I am very proud of the Nova Scotians who stepped up to ensure the people they serve are well-protected from this virus, especially given there is now a new variant of concern. The civil service also showed its dedication to the people of the province with a very high rate of vaccination. The few in both mandates who didn’t get vaccinated have made their choice. It’s unfortunate they are no longer in the workplace, but I’m glad they won’t be putting patients, students, seniors and other vulnerable people at risk.”

Let's be very clear, there is absolutely zero evidence that Nova Scotia is safer as a result of these measures. Divisive rhetoric and baseless assertions are not fact. First, Nova Scotia is already very safe. Second, over 81% of Nova Scotians are now fully vaccinated and this will be driven up soon with those in the 5-11 demographic being vaccinated in short order. In the sectors affected by the mandates, over 95%  of all staff are vaccinated. Either the vaccines work or they don't. Either way, the mandates offer no additional safety.

There has yet to be any evidence ever presented that suggests an outbreak in a school was caused or enhanced by an unvaccinated teacher. Nor has there been any evidence that an unvaccinated nurse or doctor has ever negatively impacted anyone in a hospital or clinic. Even in the East Cumberland Lodge situation, all residents and staff were vaccinated and there is no evidence any of them caught COVID-19 from someone who wasn't, regardless of the blame the Premier and Dr. Strang have attempted to lay on the religious gathering that occurred.

The facts are simple, and facts are all that matter. Vaccine mandates are not about health, they never were. They are about nothing more than pressuring and coercing people to receive the vaccine, no matter what. The rhetoric or policies haven't changed an inch, in spite of clear evidence that the vaccines offer little protection against infection and transmission, which is the only potential argument for their utility. Breakthrough cases are not rare, they are common. Vaccinated people infected with the virus carry the same amount of the virus as those that are not vaccinated and are very effective at transmitting the virus. The situation at East Cumberland Lodge happened despite everyone being fully vaccinated. Only 0.8% of Nova Scotians have ever had a positive test, and less than 0.6% of all tests completed in the province have been positive. Translation - over 99% of people in this province have NOT been infected with COVID-19 in 20 months, and the average asymptomatic person walking around has a far greater than 99% chance they do not have COVID-19. Combine that with the fact that the vaccines don't even come close to preventing transmission and you have a situation where the difference in risk that a vaccinated vs unvaccinated person poses to someone is nearly the same, and both nearly 0.

As a result of the hard line the Premier has taken, in spite of the actual scientific evidence which is overwhelming, Nova Scotia is now far less safe than it was on November 29. We now have far fewer medical staff working in a system that was already overwhelmed at the best of times. The NSCLA is privy to a number of cases where employees who were preparing to be put on leave on November 30 were bombarded with constant overtime requests, right up to the final day. What does that say to you? What's worse, a hospital that has a couple of employees that are unvaccinated on any given shift, who most likely don't have COVID-19 and even if they did, one of their vaccinated colleagues just as easily could as well? That, or not being able to fill shifts and provide necessary care to people? There is no question that the level of care being disrupted is a far greater risk to the collective health of Nova Scotians than the simple existence of an employee who isn't vaccinated. you know, the ones who have been working as heroes the entire pandemic until 2 days go.

The madness has to end. Everyday citizens have a responsibility to themselves and the community to understand the reality of the situation we are in and not just take everything they are told at face value. The vaccines may reduce risk of poor outcomes, but that's an individual risk. They have limited efficacy at reducing the risk between people, that's just a simple fact and we can see it based on how many vaccinated people are still testing positive (70% of all new cases aged 12+ in NS last week were fully vaccinated). Treating an unvaccinated person as if they probably have COVID-19 and are going to transmit to everyone, whilst treating vaccinated people like they are completely immune and not capable of passing the virus on is not only incorrect and anti-science, but it's also incredibly dangerous. Both the societal fracturing and division that's happening as well as the health dangers posed by pretending vaccinated people can't pass the virus on to a vulnerable person.

The facts are simple and clear. Nova Scotia is far worse off and far less safe as a result of these policies that are not grounded in any science or evidence. Ultimately, it will be all of us who suffer the fallout.