Are your city councillors vaccinated? We asked them and only 1 won't answer
Citing privacy reasons, Ward 1 Coun. Van Holst won't say whether he's had a shot
Mayor Ed Holder and all but one member of London city council say they've been double vaccinated for COVID-19, with Ward 1 Coun. Michael Van Holst refusing to confirm whether or not he's had a shot, citing privacy reasons.
CBC News put the question to Holder and each member of council this week: Are you double vaccinated for COVID-19?
All but Van Holst said they've had two vaccinations. Van Holst said he did not want to disclose private medical information, and responded to CBC's question this way in an email:
"It would be a disservice to all Canadians to create a precedent whereby people feel obliged to disclose private medical information, so I am not going to participate in an unrequired disclosure," he said. "The future danger is that this would be seen as the justification for the release of other information that could disadvantage people in many ways.
"If health authorities can't divulge an individual's information under social pressures, there is no need for the individual to do so either."
Last week, Van Holst brought a motion to the city's strategic priorities and policy committee suggesting that vaccination mandates could be perceived as oppression and coercion against those who've not had a shot. His motion called on council to refer the matter to the city's diversity, inclusion and anti-oppression advisory committee (DIAAC).
In his motion, Van Holst said he's most concerned about those who feel COVID mRNA vaccines need more study, and those concerned about having to share their personal medical history.
No one on council was willing to second Van Holst's referral motion, so it went no further.
The question comes as administrators of public institutions and employers weigh the thorny legal issue of whether or not to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory.
Neither the province nor the Middlesex-London Health Unit has required vaccinations for entry into buildings, although Western University and Fanshawe College have mandated vaccinations for students in residence. Quebec plans to implement a vaccine passport system in the weeks to come. Premier Doug Ford has rejected the possibility of implementing a similar system in Ontario.
As for City of London employees, there is no requirement for COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents most inside and outside London city employees in two separate locals. CUPE spokesperson Hugh Pouliot told CBC News the union at the national level currently has no position on workplace mandates for COVID-19 vaccinations, but is working on one.
'Pandemic of the unvaccinated'
Holder, a strong proponent of COVID-19 vaccinations, said the province has the legal authority to implement mandatory vaccines.
While not speaking specifically about Van Holst, Holder said he encourages everyone to get vaccinated, including all members of council.
He said anyone wary of vaccines deserves to have their questions answered, but believes some "hardcore" vaccine opponents may be unlikely to be swayed.
"We have no one in hospital that's had two shots in London," said Holder. "And I think that speaks for itself.
"The tragedy is that it becomes our fourth wave and it will become the pandemic of the unvaccinated."