Only in Hamilton.

317 City of Hamilton staff have not declared their vaccination status and decided to not pick up the rapid testing kits available to those who choose to not be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Hamilton’s “Vaccination Verification Policy” does not require vaccination (which other nearby municipalities and transit agencies do), only that staff who do not provide proof of vaccination submit to twice weekly at-home rapid tests (provided by the City).

In a public statement Wednesday afternoon, the City of Hamilton states a large number of the 317 are in the “HSR (5.4 per cent of bus operators), the Hamilton Fire Department (6.1 per cent of suppression employees), and Public Works (6.9 per cent in Waste, 8.2 per cent in Parks and Cemeteries).”

These are front-line “essential” workers who had to interact with the public during the pandemic. In the case of Fire, there was a COVID outbreak at Station 12.

Fire fighters respond to medical calls, the public has a reasonable expectation they are vaccinated against as many communicable diseases as possible.

As for the others, we owe a duty of care to each other to be vaccinated at the present time. It is the only way to control COVID in the short term and ensure enough immunity to exit the pandemic phase of this virus.

It makes no sense to me why anyone would risk their guaranteed well-paid employment by not submitting to rapid testing. To say nothing of a guaranteed pension upon retirement.

If they wish to resist vaccination, the City of Hamilton is allowing them.

The 317 holdouts are now resisting testing, which is even more absurd.