Damien Kurek

COLUMN: Let’s talk about vaccines

‘The approval of several vaccines brings hope that we may soon see the end of the pandemic’

After all the heartache and adversity Canadians have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

The approval of several vaccines brings hope that we may soon see the end of the pandemic. In this column, I want to share some observations about the roll-out of vaccines and address three common questions that folks often ask.

First: vaccines are an important tool in the fight against coronavirus, but they are not a silver bullet.

One of the key metrics Public Health uses in its response to COVID is the R number. This is the number of people who catch COVID from a single infected source.

An R number of less than one results in fewer infections and over time as people recover. Whereas an R greater than one results in more infections.

Although a vaccine does not eliminate the virus or its transmission, it can lower the R value significantly.

This then decreases the degree of other measures used to slow the spread, measures which have had a significantly greater social and economic impact on Canadians.

Second: the safety of vaccines is very important and this needs to be discussed.

There is a risk of side effects any time you get a shot, as is the case with any medical treatment…from over-the-counter painkillers to the most complex treatment for rare diseases.

The scientific consensus is, and history shows, that vaccines are safe and they work.

I use the phrase “scientific consensus” because that is important. It does not mean there is full or universal agreement on the subject, but rather there is general agreement among those qualified to make a determination based on the evidence.

Also, it is troubling how much misinformation there is about vaccines, and the COVID vaccine, in particular, that circulates online. It is important to get your information from qualified sources.

Third: I want to be very clear that I do not support mandatory vaccines, either directly or indirectly.

Receiving the vaccine is something each person needs to evaluate and decide for themselves, and I am thankful that both the provincial government and the federal government have committed to allowing this. That said, I personally plan to receive the shot when available and encourage those who can to also consider getting it.

While the approval of vaccines is welcome news, there is a troubling level of mismanagement in the national procurement strategy by the Trudeau Liberal government.

And while the Prime Minister blames provinces, the reality is that many provinces are vaccinating at a rate that will exhaust currently procured supplies in the coming days or weeks.

Instead of planning for this over the last number of months, the Liberals put politics before the best interests of Canadians.

To quantify Canada’s substandard vaccine procurement, you can look at inoculation rates in a population.

For example, Israel leads the world with close to a two per cent inoculation rate, while the rates in United States and the United Kingdom are near 0.2 per cent.

Canada’s rate is only around 0.05 per cent.

The Liberals’ mismanagement means the pandemic response will be lengthened, hurting the health of Canadians and Canadian businesses.

This also forces provincial governments to make difficult decisions related to pandemic restrictions. Conservatives will continue to demand answers and accountability on this and all measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to all front-line workers, health professionals, and essential service providers for all the work and sacrifices made during the pandemic. Thank you.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this column, you are encouraged to write Damien at 4945-50th St., Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, text 403.575-5625, or e-mail damien.kurek@parl.gc.ca.

You can also stay up-to-date with what Damien is up to by following him on social media @dckurek.


Just Posted

Stettler County
County of Stettler approves projects during May 12th council meeting

County council has authorized some funds for projects this summer

Stettler County
County of Stettler holds public hearings for proposed bylaws

A bylaw to amend the Land Use Bylaw for recreational vehicle uses generated many responses from the public

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

Stettler town hall. (Lisa Joy/Stettler Independent)
Stettler’s Main Street project continues to move forward

Phase two will be the replacement of the sidewalks on both sides of the block

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

The historic Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne in southern Alberta is up for sale

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
Alberta RCMP investigating possible threat to police after Mirror rally

Online images show RCMP members, vehicles in crosshairs of a rifle

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Most Read