What is going to it take for the federal authorities to raise COVID-19 vaccine mandates? Well being Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says it is sophisticated.
Conservative and NDP members of the Home of Commons well being committee hammered the minister with questions on a timeline, a benchmark, or a set of circumstances that will set off an finish to vaccine necessities for travellers and federal workers.
“(Canadians) want to know what it will take for the mandates to end,” stated Conservative critic Michael Barrett informed the committee Monday.
Duclos had no single reply, as a substitute giving a protracted record of indicators the federal authorities is watching.
The choice, he stated, can be primarily based on the whole lot from the vaccination charge, hospital capability, and home and worldwide epidemiology to the affect of long-COVID, the financial system, and different social impacts.
Whereas mandates are reviewed on a weekly foundation, he stated it might be “irresponsible” to reply whether or not there’s a particular plan to finish federal public well being mandates.
“To be responsible means that you need to follow the evidence, the science and the precautionary principle and adjust or analyze policies as things evolve,” he stated.
Opposition events have more and more referred to as for extra transparency about how the federal authorities makes public well being selections below its jurisdiction.
“I find that quite shocking, that there’s not an answer to be given, that it’s much too complex for the health committee and for Canadians to understand,” Conservative MP Stephen Ellis stated to the minister at committee.
When requested what particular metrics could possibly be used to determine when it is secure sufficient to name down federal mandates, Duclos provided a listing of various numbers as a substitute.
He stated there have been in all probability about 20,000 new instances of COVID-19, and a ten to 30 per cent charge of contaminated individuals growing long-COVID.
He additionally informed the committee $23,000 is the common value to deal with a affected person with COVID-19 within the hospital, that lower than 60 per cent of eligible Canadians have acquired a booster vaccine, and that 59 individuals died from the virus in Canada on Sunday.
“It gives you an example of the type of numbers, people and facts that we need to consider,” he stated.
The COVID-19 scenario is “unstable,” chief public well being officer Dr. Theresa Tam informed the committee.
Internationally, there was an uptick in COVID-19 instances largely pushed by a sub-mutation of the Omicron variant referred to as BA.2.
Whereas she doesn’t finally make selections about federal mandates, Tam prompt the federal government is ready to see whether or not there’s a resurgence in coming weeks and the way provincial well being programs are in a position to deal with it.
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed March 21, 2022.