'The surge is upon us:' Tory says there needs to be some sort of plan on vaccine passports
Published Friday, August 6, 2021 1:08PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 6, 2021 1:08PM EDT
Mayor John Tory says that there needs to be some sort of “overall plan” when it comes to mandating vaccinations.
Calls have been growing in recent days to make vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers and education workers but the Ford government has so far indicated that it has no plans to do so.
It has also refused to implement a vaccine passport system that would require that people be fully vaccinated to partake in some non-essential activities, such as working out the gym.
During an interview with CP24 on Friday, Tory said that he sees some merit in a policy that the University Health Network has implemented requiring its employees to have either been fully vaccinated or test negative for the virus prior to coming to work.
He said that it is also “fine” if the federal Liberal government opts to require vaccination for some workers in federally regulated industries, as suggested by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
But he said that “a patchwork” series of policies that vary amongst employers and jurisdictions will ultimately help no one and that there is a real need for “some guidelines,” if not clear policies.
“The bottom line is somebody has to come up with some kind of a plan and I've said logically I think that's going to have to be the province,” he said. “We cannot afford to have a kind of a patchwork quilt of chaos where York, Durham, Peel and Toronto and different employers are doing things differently. People are going to be incredibly confused and I think that poses a danger.”
Nearly 81 per cent of Toronto residents 12 and up have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 72 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Tory, however, said that the need to get more residents vaccinated has never been greater amid a recent rise in case numbers.
To that end, the city is doubling down on its outreach efforts and now has vaccine engagement teams made up of 150 community agencies and 280 neighbourhood ambassadors regularly visiting neighbourhoods where vaccine uptake has been slower.
“Today's the day, not tomorrow, not two weeks from now, today, because this surge is upon us,” he said on Friday. “You can see from the case numbers and I think everything I'm told is that we're going to see some kind of a surge. The question is can we keep it small by having more people vaccinated.”
According to Toronto Public Health, there are still more than 193,000 people who have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and are eligible for their second but have not yet gotten it.