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Going to school, playing with friends, and experiencing human connection are privileges reserved only for vaccinated children. That’s the City of Toronto’s apparent position, anyway.
Canada’s largest city published a ghastly series of videos a few days ago suggesting unvaccinated kids should be kept from their relatives, their friends, and from schools.
The five ads – I’m reticent to call fear-mongering propaganda “public service announcements” – were initially published Friday but received little attention until the City of Toronto posted one of them to Twitter yesterday, where it came across my radar.
In this video, a young girl looks longingly out the window as the neighbour kids play. She hopefully asks her mother if she can join them. From offscreen, her mother shuts down the idea.
Because “there’s still something going around.”
There certainly is, but it’s an epidemic of fear and paranoia, not Covid.
The ads push vaccination as the key to letting children be children.
“Kids should be out there. Not in here,” the aforementioned video says.
“She should be in school,” another says about a young girl who barges in on her mother’s Zoom meeting.
“Human connections are stronger than internet connections,” one of the ads proclaims as a child’s video call with a friend drops.
If the ads ended at these points, they would be strong reminders of the massive harms lockdowns and restrictions have caused among children. But they went a few seconds longer.
All of the videos culminate in an identical message: “COVID-19 vaccines available for children 6 months to 12 years.”
A particularly chilling one shows an infant on a video call with cooing relatives, imploring the viewer, “Don’t miss these moments.” No family visits unless the adorable child gets jabbed, evidently.
The City of Toronto’s implication is clear: Vaccinate children or they won’t be able to live their lives.
The message is disingenuous at best. It wasn’t a lack of childhood vaccines that prevented children from going to school, experiencing human connection, and spending time with relatives. Government restrictions did this.
With the absence (at least for now) of most of these restrictions, the only interpretation one can draw from the City of Toronto’s messaging is that it’s unsafe for unvaccinated kids to partake in any of these activities.
This is an outright lie, and an evil one at that.
It’s no longer regarded as “misinformation” to say that Covid vaccination does not prevent transmission. This simplifies the discussion quite a bit, because no one can credibly frame vaccination as a moral obligation or community service when the benefit is individualized. The question comes down to whether the vaccine reduces one’s own risk of serious illness, hospitalization, or death.
Whatever doubts people may raise about this in adults and the elderly, the science is abundantly clear that this risk is negligible for children.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada has logged 39 Covid deaths of children aged zero to 11. Each of these is tragic, but it’s important to note these are deaths after a Covid diagnosis, not necessarily deaths from Covid.
Just over 42 per cent of kids in Canada aged five to 11 are fully vaccinated. In the zero to four years range, the number is 0.08 per cent (the Moderna vaccine was approved for that age group in July; the Pfizer series was just approved last week.)
Even with the low vaccine uptake for children, children are experiencing Covid like the myriad other bugs that work their way through classrooms and daycares. They get sick, then they get better.
Denmark is evidently confident enough about the low risk Covid poses to children that its health authority has done away with Covid vaccination for anyone under 18, unless they have underlying health conditions warranting it.
The United Kingdom offers the Covid vaccine to children as young as five, but classifies it as “non-essential” and advises against a one-size-fits-all approach when vaccines “are not going to give the best outcomes in children in terms of efficacy and safety.”
Now, it’s possible the City of Toronto’s marketing department has access to better data than the UK and Denmark health authorities, though I am skeptical.
The City of Toronto is terrorizing children to push a Covid vaccine that simply isn’t necessary for most of them. This ad campaign serves only to scare or shame parents who, for whatever reason, have decided not to get their children vaccinated.
I have several questions about this campaign, which I’ve put to the City of Toronto’s media relations office and also in Freedom of Information requests. Who approved the campaign? If, as the city said yesterday, the message was misunderstood, what was the message supposed to be? How much did the City of Toronto pay for this slick video campaign?
These are important questions, and I’ll endeavour to get answers to them. But they’re all secondary to a far more fundamental one I put to the City of Toronto here: What the hell is wrong with you?
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