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There is no question that we are in the fourth wave of this pandemic; and while we don’t have the numbers that Alberta and Ontario are reporting, it is definitely having a significant impact here in the Maritimes. New Brunswick is now over 400 active cases. On Prince Edward Island, where things have been relatively well managed, we are experiencing our highest active case count since the pandemic began.

Thankfully, our vaccination count is high. However, we are starting to witness some serious gaps when it comes to public service institutions; specifically and recently within our public school system. Within the first three weeks of the school season, multiple children have contracted COVID with some being under the age of 10. This is significant as vaccines aren’t regulated for children under the age of 12.

As children are defenseless to this virus, it’s up to us as the adults to get fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, some of us have refused to do so. If it was the beginning of the vaccine distribution this would be more understandable. However, now almost a year into the vaccine and given the science has proven its effectiveness in reducing transmission, there are very few exceptions for not being vaccinated.

Because of the King government’s weaker back-to-school plan, we have government employees who are amongst some of those not choosing to vaccinate. In some schools vaccinated teachers only make up 70%.

While teachers aren’t the only adults transmitting the disease, it is an area in which the King government has to step up and take more leadership action in this fight against the virus. This government has a duty to maintain science-based health protocols in public institutions. Their failure to implement a vaccination mandate has contributed to possible transmission and outbreaks.

While I commend the CPHO in her work in fighting this virus, provincial work regulations are the mandate of the government. Unfortunately, this responsibility has been somewhat lacking.

Jason Alward,

NDP PEI president

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