The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
I hope I may — as a Canadian ex-South African who has always championed human rights, and who once studied ethics — weigh in on the Sept 9th BizNews Insider piece on Canadian Ethics Prof Julie Ponesse’s objections to her employer mandating Covid vaccinations.
First, some fact-checking:
a) No she wasn’t “fired” for refusing to be vaccinated. The National Post — a right-of-centre newspaper — quotes her as saying she’d been placed on paid leave. What the university told her was that they can’t allow unvaccinated people to come onto the campus.
Not only is it for the protection of the institution which otherwise would have to close when too many of its students and faculty get sick or die, but also it’s for the protection of others, the same diffs as when I wasn’t allowed to enter South Africa and Namibia without proof of vaccinations against Hepatitis, Yellow Fever, Measles Mumps and Rubella, Diptheria, etc. Nobody was “forcing” me to get vaccinated, but if I chose not to then I would be refused entry.
b) I wonder what Ethics principles she has reportedly been “teaching for 20 years.” Wouldn’t ethical decision making be predicated on factual accuracy? Negating the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, and calling those that have passed Canada’s stringent approval process “experimental” just because they’re relatively new, is a false foundation for her “ethical” conclusion.
The FDA’s recent conclusive approval of the Pfizer vaccine, for example, followed a 6-month clinical trial involving 44,000 people, half of whom were vaccinated, concluding that it was both safe and 91% successful in preventing serious illness. The fact that our ICU’s are getting maxxed out by a large majority of unvaccinated Covid patients, leaving no room for others requiring critical care, is surely enough proof of the vaccines’ effectiveness.
Secondly, a definition of Ethics is that it “refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.”
Tie that in with Human Rights: Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognizes that some rights and liberties have to be weighed against others, for example when one’s right to liberty and association can threaten another’s right to life and security of the person, such as during a pandemic. The concept of “Ubuntu” comes to mind.
When it comes to the ethics of Public Health, No Man Is an Island.
No wonder this medical ethicist says “I wouldn’t pass her in my ethics class” ‘I wouldn’t pass her in my ethics class’: Medical ethicist pans London professor who spoke against vaccine mandates at PPC rally | ThePeterboroughExaminer.com
Thirdly, she has spoken at a rally in support of the election of Cehlsea Hillier, a candidate for the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) in our upcoming election. Nobody with a shred of ethics would ally themselves with these Covid-denying, Climate-change-denying, xenophobic, anti-United Nations, QAnon-inclined libertarians.
I encountered mobs of them a couple of years ago when they were demonstrating against allowing immigration for anyone who wasn’t essentially white Anglo Saxon Christian. They screamed threateningly in the faces of my peaceful Muslim friends. After an election debate, one of them seriously scared the Liberal party candidate, threatening “We are coming to get you!!”
This is who this Ethics professor allies herself with.
Community member Trevor Thompson wrote more broadly about the “vaccinate-or-be-fired) debate. His email reads:
My issue with this subject is as follows:
1. Yes, we all have the right to choose what goes into our bodies.
2. Covid is a highly contagious and deadly virus.
3. Covid is passed on to an uninfected person by an infected person.
4. Each infected person has the potential to spread his infection to multiple uninfected persons.
5. Thereby exponentially spreading the disease to hundreds of people who do not want to be infected.
6. Infected people do not get to choose what goes into their bodies in terms of diseases, unless they vaccinate, and even then, they are not fully protected.
7. It is in the interests of all people, that everyone should be protected by vaccines, as the sanctity of life is a right we all have.
8. Those who refuse to vaccinate should be made to isolate so that the overwhelming majority of people who want to live a normal life, are not denied this by other people who care only about themselves, and could not give a stuff about anybody else whom they might infect.
9. For those who choose to allow themselves to be infected, they can carry on and exercise their right. BUT, they have no right to expose others to their germs.
10. And that is why the only way to rid ourselves of the virus is through vaccines – just as we did with polio, smallpox and a host of other human afflictions.
11. The antivaxers must suffer the consequences, not those who take the right steps to protect themselves and others.
Besides which, there is no proven valid reason not to vaccinate. Conspiracy theorists are just that ……
Finally for today, on the subject of tapping into a possible unused SA reservoir of skills, here’s a sad email from Mike du Toit who wrote:
Further to Eleonor Smith comments this morning about retirees perhaps being willing to help up-skill employees, I am in that exact position and can tell you that its not as easy as it sounds. If you volunteer then you are abused, if you ask for payment, you don’t get paid, and lastly, trying to work with workers who think they know everything is not rewarding. I have come to the realization that us oldies will die with our skills and that’s just the way the world seems to work.
To receive BizNews founder Alec Hogg’s Daily Insider every weekday at 6am in your inbox click here. You can also sign up to the weekend’s BizNews Digest for a wrap of the best content BizNews has to offer, for a leisurely Saturday read.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.