Mark Dudzic (and the end of the table in the centre) chairing a 2018 meeting of the Hamilton Committee of Adjustment Credit: Joey Coleman

Mere hours after Hamilton City Council passed a COVID vaccination policy for all city staff, councillors, and citizen committee members, a member of the Committee of Adjustment discussed his skeptical views regarding COVID vaccines during the CoA’s regular meeting.

The discussion, broadcast live on the City’s YouTube page, is a glimpse into the dynamics of COVID vaccine skepticism and how people respond to it.

The City’s new vaccination policy applies to members of the CoA. They receive an honorarium in their roles as committee members.

CoA members must provide proof of vaccination by September 15 or attend an education session. If they choose to remain unvaccinated, they need to take COVID rapid tests.

CoA’s discussion began when the chair of the meeting, Melvin Switzer, asked if the committee’s staff are vaccinated against COVID.

Committee member Mark Dudzic, a real estate lawyer, interjected saying “If anyone is interested, I’m getting a list of the six top litigators in the province that if you want to consult about refusing to take one when being mandated at the threat of your job, just give me a shout.”

Member Bob Charters, a former City of Hamilton alderman, quickly challenged Dudzic asking, “Are you gonna take responsibility for the rest of the staff? If somebody gets sick? Because that’s the employer’s responsibility.”

Dudzic responded, “No, because the people that don’t take it still have their natural immunity, which works better against the Delta variant.”

A Science article on a recent Israeli study reads: “The researchers also found that people who had SARS-CoV-2 previously and received one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine were more highly protected against reinfection than those who once had the virus and were still unvaccinated.” Science is a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Medical doctors and infectious disease experts emphasize the need for people to get vaccinated and that vaccinations are not just safe, they are significantly safer than getting COVID.

The risk of hospitalization for unvaccinated people infected with the Delta variant of COVID is more than double the Alpha variant. A recent hospitalization risk study found fewer than 2 percent of infections occurred in fully vaccinated people.

Ontario’s hospitals report that more than 90 percent of COVID patients in intensive care are not fully vaccinated.

Dudzic continued stating discussed how immunity decreases over time from vaccination. (It also decreases following infection).

“I’ve pretty much listened to everything that has to do with it,” Dudzic stated. “My family’s vaccinated, but there still are issues, and people still have concerns.”

Other members of the committee challenged his assertions, stressing the importance of getting vaccinated.

Member David Serwatuk said, “50 percent of the reason why I got it is so I can go do things and travel. I mean, I had to give in, I had to throw in the flag and say, ‘Okay, I want to go do things.'”

The discussion turned to children and COVID.

“They want kids to take it now in the States,” said Dudzic. “If you watch CNN, that is their whole narrative now, just little kids to take it.”

Other members pushed back.

“Everyone has their own story about why they want to take it, and you just got to respect everybody’s own story,” said Serwatuk.

“We’ll see what happens in the next election,” Dudzic added. “Let’s see who does well or does poorly based on their narratives, and then you’ll see changes.”

Committee member Vern Gaddye asked, “Are we finished?” and the discussion came to an end.

[The discussion of COVID vaccinations begins at 2:42:13 in the meeting video]