Survey ponders future of vaccine passports, how to deal with those still unvaxxed
A new questionnaire from the PC’s go-to opinion polling firm, Campaign Research, suggests the government is wondering whether there is still public support for the enhanced vaccine certificate system amid the ongoing Omicron wave.
The new poll, obtained by Queen’s Park Today, asks respondents whether they believe the “vaccine passport system no longer makes sense because both vaccinated people are being infected with the Omicron variant and both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are also transmitting the virus,” or whether the passport system should remain in place “for the foreseeable future” because unvaccinated people are more likely to be hospitalized if they are infected.
Currently, fully vaccinated people make up the majority of people in ICUs, as well as two-thirds of hospital admissions. However, vaccinated people account for a large majority in Ontario as 82 per cent of everyone over five has been jabbed twice, while 12 per cent remain unvaccinated.
The poll also asks respondents whether they think the passport system should be maintained regardless of “whether the vaccine passport actually works” as a way to “pressure” unvaccinated people into getting a jab, or whether it is time to end the system “because it is unlikely that more than 90 per cent of the adult population will become vaccinated.”
It is unclear whether the poll was conducted for the PCs, as Campaign Research does not comment on who commissions individual polls. That said, company founder and Doug Ford advisor Nick Kouvalis has described himself as the “government caucus opinion researcher.”
When he first announced the rollout of the vaccine passport last fall, Ford said the mandate would end by January 17. The government later backed off that pledge, instead making QR codes mandatory as of January 4. However, that change became mostly moot last week, as the vast majority of settings that require proof of vaccination have been closed.
Poll seeks feedback on federal leaders’ positions on accommodating the unvaxxed
The survey asks respondents if they agree with the sentiment that Covid has become “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” or whether “the current vaccines do not work to stop infection, transmission and … hospitalization.”
It also points to Niagara Health’s recent decision to bring back unvaccinated health-care workers from suspension to boost its workforce during the Omicron wave, asking whether this was the right decision. (The PCs declined to enact a provincewide vaccine mandate for health-care workers, opting to allow individual hospitals to do so on their own.)
Meanwhile, the poll references differing opinions in Ottawa about accommodating unvaccinated people, asking respondents who they side with. It contrasts federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s recent comments arguing unvaccinated workers such as truck drivers should be accommodated to avoid supply chain disruptions with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks last week that Canadians are “angry” and “frustrated” with those who refuse to get the jab.
On Friday, Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos suggested provinces double down on mandating vaccines as a way to deal with health-care capacity that has been stretched “too thin” by the Omicron variant.
Respondents were also asked whether unvaccinated people are to blame for the shortage of hospital capacity, or whether it is the fault of public health officials and the province for not shoring up more hospital beds over the past two years.