This is an interesting problem.
You take a pretty courageous, world helping step by signing up to be part of a vaccine trial. You aren’t sure if you got the real candidate or a placebo and you won’t be finding out any time soon. The province you live in implements a proof of vaccination system. You, who may or may not have been vaccinated, have no idea what to tell anyone who has to ask you about it. What happens to you? Are you denied entry to every place known to man that has been deemed non-essential? Are you let in even though you might be unvaccinated and therefore a risk?
I tend to lean toward giving all of these people medical exemptions, personally. It’s not as though there are enough of them concentrated in one area to cause a lockdown, although you could counter that by saying that it only takes one. You would be right, but if there are already people exempted for other legitimate medical reasons and if you’re going to be exempting people for reasons that ought not to exist (hello, religion), it’s seriously unfair to hang people who could quite literally be life saving heroes out to dry.
For its trial to proceed properly, Medicago is using a “double blind” experiment, meaning some participants are given the Medicago vaccine candidate, while others are given a placebo.
Neither people administering the vaccine nor those receiving it know whether they got the placebo or the real thing, and they won’t until researchers have a chance to compare the rates of COVID-19 in both groups.
Only participants leaving the trial can find out which dose they’ve received.
That’s Lacasse’s main concern right now — that other Medicago trial participants will leave the trial in order to receive an already-approved vaccine, slowing down the experiment.
It’s a concern echoed by Medicago. In a statement emailed to the Star, a company spokesperson said they were “very concerned” about the possibility of Ontario participants being denied vaccine certificates, and leaving the trial because of it.
“We urgently need the Government of Ontario to follow the example of Quebec and provide vaccine passports to clinical trial participants in order to prevent them from leaving the study,” the statement, provided by Tanvir Janmohamed, said.
“Clinical trial participants are essential to advancing vaccine technology in Canada, and should not be penalized for their choice to contribute to science for the benefit of society.”