Those on the political left like to say that the Ford government is purposely keeping vaccines in the freezer because he is simply that evil. In reality, as Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease expert and member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force explained via a Twitter thread on April 15, the province needs to carefully monitor the vaccine supply in order to ensure that there are enough vaccines for the appointments scheduled when there are supply delays. That sometimes requires having a two-day supply in the freezers so that if additional deliveries are delayed the province doesn’t have to cancel everyone’s appointments. Also, Pfizer deliveries arrive weekly so there are lots of vaccines “in the freezer” at the beginning of the week, which then get distributed throughout the week.
People also like to place blame on the wrong government. A key example of this is the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and its radio commercials. They say that the Ford government has failed to make schools safe which is why they are closed and kids aren’t in school. The commercial then says that Ford ought to get vaccines into the arms of education workers as soon as possible and that it is his fault that education workers are not vaccinated.
While it can certainly be argued that the Ford government should take more steps to make schools “safe”, even those measures can only go so far. Even if all in-person class sizes were reduced to 15 children since the beginning of the pandemic (which would no doubt put a lot of burden on the taxpayer with the hiring of additional teachers that would be required to reduce class sizes), would schools really be open right now?
COVID is serious. There are stories about people who have followed all COVID guidelines, barely left home, and always worn a mask getting seriously sick from COVID. There are also stories from Ontario ICU Doctor Michael Warner of people who have already received their first dose of the vaccine (but not yet their second) and have still come down with serious cases of COVID and are in the ICU. I say this not to fearmonger, but to say, how much of the third wave is actually someone’s fault?
And when it comes to vaccines, the real issue is lack of supply. Lack of supply is the reason why the York Region mass vaccine clinics closed temporarily for one day on Monday, May 3 and it is the reason that education workers have not yet been vaccinated. Those who follow current events know that Prime Minister Trudeau and the federal government are in charge of vaccine supply and Premier Ford and the provincial government are in charge of vaccine distribution.
There are legitimate criticisms to lay on both governments, but, as The Star Editorial Board recognized on February 5, the failure to secure vaccines quickly was part of a “terrible performance” by the Trudeau Liberals. And sure, things are finally flowing on the vaccine front, but Canada could have been at this point in the vaccine rollout weeks ago and stifled at least some of the severity of the third wave.
But, to those with a critical enough eye to look beyond the simple messages of “COVID blaming,” it ought to be realized that blaming a government or a person for everything bad that has happened in the past one and a half years is simply unreasonable.
Both the left and the right ought to understand that there isn’t “blood on the hands” of Prime Minister Trudeau or Premier Ford. COVID deaths aren’t anyone’s fault. That does not mean that there are legitimate criticisms to be had of both governments (and some very serious ones at that), but such criticisms ought to come about in a balanced and nuanced way taking into account the complexities of government and the complexities of the entire COVID situation.