Opposition to policy isn’t opposition to vaccines: Union prez

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Theirs isn’t a case of skepticism, more of concern.

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Adding this voice to growing concern over the TTC’s mandatory vaccination policy is CUPE Local 5089 President David Cooper, representing nearly 200 special constables, fare inspectors and protective services guards.

While some of his members did choose to follow suit with recommendations initially made by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 that members not disclose their vaccination status to management, Cooper and his executive decided to let their membership decide on their own.

“Some of our members were holding out, but simply because they don’t know what’s going to happen,” Cooper said, adding his members aren’t ignorant, science-denying anti-vaxxers.

“They’re not against vaccines, they have unanswered questions, they have concerns — some have legitimate concerns.”

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Among those, he said, are members of his local who are pregnant.

“They want to know, what’s going to happen?” Cooper said, explaining the TTC hasn’t made it clear what will happen to employees who can’t get the shot for legitimate medical reasons, and what the commissions’ plans are to accommodate them.

The messaging surrounding pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine has been mixed.

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Initially, public health authorities cautioned expectant mothers contemplating getting their jab as the empirical data just wasn’t there.

As research, trials and on-the-ground knowledge on the vaccine became better known, most public health agencies now recommend pregnant women get immunized as soon as practical.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control issued a call for ‘urgent action’ to increase vaccination numbers for pregnant women, and Canadian health authorities are recommending the same.

While Cooper understands the TTC’s motivations, he said there needs to be a better solution than putting somebody’s career on the line.

“By arbitrarily dangling their jobs in front of their faces, of course you’re going to get defiance,” he said. “They should be focusing on addressing vaccine hesitancy, and giving people more opportunities to express their concern and get their questions answered.”

On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume


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