Montreal patient advocate in favour of mandatory vaccines as ICUs fill up
MONTREAL -- On Saturday, St. Mary's Hospital Centre reported three ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19.
Around the same time, the Lakeshore General Hospital temporarily closed two of its operating rooms, citing a spike in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
This past weekend, the average age of ICU patients hovered around 40.
With all this in mind, one Montreal lawyer and patient advocate says it's time for some extreme measures.
"The government has the power to order everyone to get vaccinated. Why? Because we want to save the system," said Paul Brunet.
According to Brunet, anyone who views mandatory vaccines as a violation of human rights should look at arguments made over seatbelt legislation in the 1990s.
“If you’re not fixed to your seat and there’s someone else in the car, you can become a projectile and harm someone else. That’s the point — as soon as you may harm someone else, that’s where public interest comes in.”
Some locals, like student Rami Ghoudi, say making vaccines mandatory isn't a bad idea.
“I think that’s fine given what’s going on with COVID," he said.
But Ghoudi thinks it's too soon to make any kind of concrete decision.
“If it doesn’t work, maybe forcing can be an option. But we should spend more time, more research on educating everyone to get vaccinated as opposed to imposing a mandate.”
Epidemiological expert Dr. Christopher Labos echoed that sentiment, saying most unvaccinated people aren't "anti-vaxxers" — they're just waiting for more data.
“People are being vaccinated every day, so there is clearly still room to grow," he said. "As people realize that they have to be vaccinated to enjoy non-essential services, more and more people will get vaccinated."
He says vaccine mandates can be beneficial, as we have already seen with healthcare workers and some schools.
But as Delta cases continue to rise, many wonder when enforcing COVID-19 vaccines should come into play.