To enter a municipal building in Rankin Inlet, you will now need proof of vaccination.
It’s not surprising the hamlet pursued this bylaw, though it is unique in the Kivalliq for now. Proof of vaccination, or vaccine passports, are becoming the norm across Canada and the western world.
Senior administrative officer Darren Flynn said one of the hopes with the passport is that it will allow the hamlet to increase indoor capacity limits so people can get back to a sense of normalcy with community events and sports.
Throughout the pandemic, we have constantly been reaching to return to normal.
First, we had to flatten the curve by staying inside, but that wasn’t enough. Then we had to wear masks, but that wasn’t enough. Now we have to take the vaccine. Will that be enough?
It’s easy to be pessimistic. The longer the pandemic has dragged on, the further away the light at the end of the tunnel seems.
The numbers from jurisdictions with high vaccine uptake and vaccine passports are not exactly encouraging, either: the Yukon has a nearly 90-per-cent vaccination rate but recently laid down its toughest restrictions yet; Israel made a third shot necessary for the vaccine passport after the first two proved insufficient to manage the virus; Germany is currently mulling mandatory vaccines for everyone and a full lockdown; and Austria has already announced the vaccine will be mandatory in the new year.
Of course, extraordinary times tend to call for extraordinary measures. There’s no debating Covid-19 represents an extraordinary threat. Despite seeming to make a habit of dashing our hopes, governments may well be in the right to continue bringing in harsh measures to keep a lid on this evolving natural disaster.
The vaccines have proven to be a miracle; they effectively reduce severe complications from Covid-19, and if you don’t want to risk a game of Russian Roulette with the disease, I recommend taking them.
At some point, should we be resigned to a “new normal” that includes distancing, masking and vaccinating for the foreseeable future?
Are the vaccine passports a way back to the old normal, or another aspect of the new normal that we will just have to get used to?
As if anyone knows at this point. One thing is for sure: the longer these measures continue, the more this way of life will be normalized, especially for children who may grow up knowing nothing else. Few temporary government measures stay temporary.
I hope to be around when we open the black box on the pandemic in 20 or 50 years.
There is at least one technical note the hamlet should take into consideration with its vaccine passport policy: people should still be allowed in buildings if they are at risk from the cold.
During these times, let’s not let bureaucracy trump humanity.