Dr. Howard Njoo

Courtesy Radio-Canada

Mandating mask wearing and vaccincinations is not the right way to go about things, says the deputy chief epidemiologist with the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Blacklock’s Reporter says Dr. Howard Njoo told reporters immunization was “a voluntary choice” and that positive education was preferable to coercion.

“From a public health perspective we want people to be sort of informed and make that a voluntary choice to get a vaccine,” said Njoo.

“We know vaccines are a very important tool, safe and effective in terms of how we manage not just the Omicron variant wave right now, but for COVID-19 into the future.”

Njoo also criticized mask mandates as needless.

“People should be encouraged — it doesn’t have to be because there’s a mandate. It’s because people see the value in and of itself to protect themselves and protect others,” he said.

Njoo earlier said he told unvaccinated friends it was their personal choice to take a COVID-19 shot but recommended precautions like avoiding large gatherings.

“My wife and I are completely vaccinated,” Njoo told reporters last October 11.

“I’ve had conversations with friends who are having a tougher time, especially with members of their family who are not vaccinated at all or only partially vaccinated. If a family member is not vaccinated, you should politely explain your situation and your discomfort level, and if they choose not to be immunized that’s their choice.

“There are consequences in terms of even family dynamics and others feeling safe about getting together. So I’ll leave it at that.”

Currently, 81% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, by Public Health Agency estimate.

The rate is only 5% of children aged five to 11 though the agency approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for kindergartners last November 19.

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