Wong-Tam apologizes for sharing misleading vaccine information in column

TORONTO – A Toronto city councilor who serves as vice-chair of the city’s board of health apologizes for spreading misinformation about vaccines in a column she recently wrote for a Toronto newspaper .

Com. Kristyn Wong-Tam wrote an op-ed for the Toronto Sun on Nov. 18, urging people not to judge those who choose not to be vaccinated.

In the column, Wong-Tam said that according to public health statements, vaccinated people transmit COVID-19 to others as easily as unvaccinated people and cited Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore, who advocated that natural immunity be considered part of Ontario. reopening project.

The adviser was criticized for comments on social media over the weekend.

In a statement released Monday evening, Wong-Tam apologized for sharing incorrect information.

“When I wrote an opinion piece last week, it was a genuine effort to promote dialogue and civility in an increasingly polarized debate over public health measures during the pandemic,” Wong wrote -Tam. “In the process, I unfortunately made an honest mistake with the information I shared from an August 2021 note from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. This memo is outdated and the context in which I shared it was misleading and left a bad impression. For that, I am very sorry.

The Ward 13 councilor said that even though she herself was vaccinated, her intention in writing the column was to share a personal story about her parents that highlighted why some people might not have chosen to be vaccinated and to share her concerns. regarding the stigmatization of people who are not vaccinated. .

She went on to say that she believed in vaccination and encouraged others to get vaccinated.

“In short, I believe the scientific evidence is clear: vaccinations are an essential tool to end the pandemic. Anyone who is able should get the vaccine, ”Wong-Tam wrote. “The more people we have vaccinated, the less transmission we have. I regret that the inclusion of inaccurate information distracted attention from my main reason for writing the article. “

She reiterated her belief that those “who have genuine concerns should be treated with respect, not contempt” and said she remained concerned about the possible effects of immunization mandates on BIPOC communities.

Wong-Tam said she would not extend her role as vice president of the health board after her role expires in December, but said she would like to remain a general member of the board “if my fellow members of the board council agree “.

The Toronto Board of Health is responsible for overseeing and directing the work of Toronto Public Health (TPH).

Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, who heads the TPH, has repeatedly emphasized that vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others from the dangers associated with COVID-19.

Toronto Public Health could not immediately comment Monday evening on the information shared by Wong-Tam.

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