I’ve been trying to avoid talking about the pandemic but I have to bring it up once again.’Tell me Camp, how come that the persistent hospital statistics pointing out that 90% of covid ICU patients are not vaccinated, cannot convince these deniers to get the shot? Right now, we have 400 people in hospital, half of them in intensive care and most of them unvaccinated. It pisses me off that these idiots dictate restrictive protocols, delay necessary surgeries and use thousands of dollars worth of health care resources that we, the vaccinated, are paying for.’
‘Once again, my friend, you’re preaching to the choir. I’m not sure why governments just don’t make the vaccine mandatory. Some bullshit about freedom of choice when the choice really becomes: do I endanger my family, friends and co-workers or not and am I better off being laid off from my job and not being able to attend any events, weddings, funerals nor go to any restaurants, cinemas and gyms, nor travel or fly anywhere?’
As soon as I sat down at our usual table, Camp, my long-time companion on these Thirsty Thursdays, had the topic all ready to dish out. Vicky lost no time to serve us a cold one and after we wet our whistles Camp was off: ‘On Halloween, Italy and the UK will jointly host world leaders in Glasgow for the 26th COP-Conference on Climate Change to talk about a course towards net global carbon emissions to reach zero by 2050. As the world’s leaders prepare to commit (or not) to this 30-year plan, an energy scare seems to be unfolding.’ Camp paused for effect.
‘Carry on,’ I said. ‘You have my attention.’
Thanksgiving is over and so are the traditional turkey dinners. We had ours at an old-time pub on Vancouver Island for $ 20 with all the trimmings, including pumpkin pie. Of course, vegetarians and vegans shun this kind of food but I’m reading that there is hope for them to partake in this time-honoured tradition, not too far in the future.
It being Thursday evening I was looking forward to meeting my friend Camp for a couple of brews in our pub, located on the waterfront on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation. Business at the bookstore is slow in these months leading up to the festive season and Camp was already nursing his first pint when I joined him.
‘You’re a regular carnivore, aren’t you Camp, a purveyor of fine meats, cold cuts, fowl and fish?’ I said.
Looking across Howe Sound, which has now been designated a UNESCO biosphere, I can see the first snow caps on the coastal mountains. Time for the snowbirds to migrate to warmer climes, except we’re not flying south but instead are hunkering down before a fire, dreaming of sunny isles and swimming at the local pool instead of the Caribbean waters.
‘Good news Camp. Several European countries have declared the pandemic over and are returning to ‘normal’. Denmark, Sweden and Norway have removed all protocols and the Netherlands, Ireland and Portugal have also announced that they’re lifting all the restrictions like distancing, and limiting crowds. They do however require vaccine proof when attending large gatherings like concerts or sports events.’
We’ve had a week of solid rain now and the summer seems long gone. I’ve walked to the village with an umbrella instead of sunglasses and boots instead of sandals. Camp was already enjoying his beer, staring out at the hard rain coming down, drumming on the glass roof.
As the anti-vaxxers become more militant and ostracize themselves ever more from the mainstream of society, making life for the rest of us difficult with restrictions and overwhelmed health system, what should we – or the powers that be – do Camp?’
For once my friend didn’t have a ready answer and thoughtfully sipped his beer. We both listened to the seagulls squawking. ‘For one thing we cannot pander to them and keep trying to convince them with arguments and statistics. We should let them know that we, the vaccinated, are protecting them by not letting them into gatherings and restaurants, since we could still be carrying the virus and infect them and since they are not protected, they are much more likely to end up sick, in hospital or the incinerator.’
‘To get vaccinated is a moral imperative.’