In a hearing in the House of Commons, the head of the Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC) was unable to produce any data that justifies why the agency has not lifted federal COVID passports.
MP Michael Barrett, of the Conservative Party of Canada, pressed Dr. Harpreet Kochhar on why the vaccine mandates had not been lifted. The health agency recently said that the mandates will remain until “at least” the end of this month.
“Are you able to provide us today with the metrics that are being used to sustain or to allow those restrictions to expire at the end of the month?” Barrett asked Kochhar.
Kochhar vaguely responded that the agency has “metrics which we use regularly” that rely on “scientific evidence on effectiveness, availability, and uptake of vaccines.”
Unsatisfied with the response, Barrett asked Kochhar to clearly provide the data being used by the PHAC to justify keeping the mandates in place, especially putting into consideration the natural immunity associated with the Omicron variant.
“There aren’t firm numbers or anything which can really be pinned on, it depends on how much of the coverage of the vaccination, what is our current public health measures, and what it is in terms of our hospital capacity, all of them taken together we do the modeling,” Kochhar said.
Barrett continued to press, and Kochhar said that it “is a combination of different metrics, there aren’t any specific numbers which we could actually say.”
“Because it depends on the activity of the virus in the different communities as well as different settings, and also the protection that is provided to the public from vaccination,” he said.
Some of the federal mandates that have not been lifted include mandated vaccine passports for those traveling by air internationally and domestically.