Talking Vaccines with Van Holst

I saw this article in the LFPress and decided that I had to ask Van Holst, the Ward 1 Councillor for London, owner of candy hearts, former science teacher, climate change skeptic denier, and the only councillor to refuse to answer the question “Are you vaccinated?” a different question:

🐿️ Me: Why are you pushing anti-vaxx propaganda talking points in the city council?

👨🏻‍🦲 Van Holst: Where did you hear that?

🐿️ Me: In an LFPress article:

Ward 11 Coun. Stephen Turner took the gloves off, by his own description, to shoot down a letter from Coun. Michael van Holst about potential “oppression” of vaccine mandates at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

He lambasted his colleague for “questioning the efficacy” of COVID-19 vaccines and sowing doubt about their role.

“The overwhelming majority of scientists who have evaluated these vaccines and the programs are in lockstep with each other that this is the appropriate course of action. (There’s) significant evidence, overwhelming consensus, and on top of that, there’s been an incredible demonstration of efficacy,” said Turner, who just started a new job as head of the Lambton County EMS. The career change frees him from a previous conflict that forced him to recuse from public health discussions while working for the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

“I’m a little bit worked up about this because I spent the last six months of my life trying to make sure that we can get as many people vaccinated as possible, so we can put this (pandemic) to bed.”

Council voted 14-1 to take no action on van Holst’s proposal to have a city hall anti-oppression committee weigh up vaccine mandates. Van Holst was opposed, and all others were in favour.

Van Holst: I saw the article, but it didn’t quote me at all. I did mention that I have friends who are disappointed in their vaccine because it doesn’t prevent you from catching, transmitting or getting sick from COVID.
It does prevent the most serious bad outcomes but those are remote possibilities for most people anyway.
I mentioned (and Councillor Cassidy also brought it up) that some people are not supposed to take the vaccine. For instance, I know someone who already has problems with heart inflammation, which has been one of the vaccine side effects.
I don’t subscribe to the pro/anti rhetoric that the paper sets up to create controversy. Both sides can say something that is true. I like to repeat those things.

🐿️ Me: Are you vaccinated?

👨🏻‍🦲 Van Holst: <provides a link to an article where he refused to indicate if he was vaccinated>

Me: Yes, I saw that article too, you are literally just helping to fuel the people that are vehemently anti vaccine by pulling stunts like that
No, it never does [prevent you from getting covid 100%], that’s how vaccines and the human body work, as a former science educator you should be able to help [your friends] understand that

👨🏻‍🦲 Van Holst: What do you think this vaccine does?

🐿️ Me: As you said: “prevent the most serious bad outcomes”. That’s the most basic way of putting it anyway, you don’t know how getting covid will actually affect you so giving your body extra chances to fight it off is a good idea.

👨🏻‍🦲 Van Holst: for the person who takes it. So why do we need to be concerned if other people don’t want to take it. What would be our motiviatetion [sic] to strip them of their right to informed consent?

🐿️ Me: That’s an anti-vaxx talking point. What about my right to not be exposed to a potentially deadly virus? What about those that are immunocompromised, or those like your friend that has a heart condition and actually cannot get the vaccine, do they not get the right to feel safe?

👨🏻‍🦲 Van Holst: Is your chance of being exposed when you meet a vaccinated person different then when you encounter an unvaccinated person?

🐿️ Me: the chances that the unvaccinated person has the virus are higher, because being unvaccinated goes along with doing things that expose you to more situations where you are likely to pick up covid so yes

It seems like you haven’t looked at any of the more recent data that has been put out about infection rates among the unvaccinated and the vaccinated.

If that is your position why do we make sure that kids are up to date on their vaccinations to participate in school? Could it be because vaccines work.

👨🏻‍🦲 Van Holst: Vaccines don’t work just because they are vaccines. Vaccines are specific tools for specific situations and they may or may not work. This upcoming flu season will be revealing if we start counting the people who actually get sick as cases. A positive PCR test is not always a reliable measure. I have to go now, but you are welcome to continue the thread.

🐿️ Me: do you seriously think that the cases of the flu were reported as covid cases?

Lots of anti vaccine talking points in there for someone who doesn’t “subscribe to the pro/anti [vaccine] rhetoric”:

Ian Sandy 1952 – 2021

My dad passed away peacefully in his sleep early in the morning of March 13th 2021 at the age of 69 with his wife by his side.

He was born in England. At the age of 1, he moved to Ontario. In Ontario he grew up, went to school and met his wife Donna and started working for Shell. In the 80s he headed west and wound up working for Shell Chemicals helping to transition them into the computer age.

In 2001 he was given the option to transfer (with family in tow) to Texas, England, or Rotterdam and he chose the Rotterdam option and ended up there for 6 years. This allowed him to take the trip to Egypt that he had dreamed since he was a young man fascinated with all things archaeology (he often recalled his time spent one summer on a dig and had the time of his life uncovering old pottery and ruins). The trip was only in Dutch but that didn’t matter to him. My brother and I translated what we could for my parents because we were taking dutch in school and he knew enough to tell us all of the things that we missed translating.

After the stint in Rotterdam they moved back to Calgary for 11 years to enjoy retirement, and then to Lucan Ontario so that they could be near to their children, and he could work on the old japanese motorbikes that he was most passionate about. He even managed to get an exact match of the first bike that he ever rode.

He is survived by his wife Donna of 48 years, his two children Sean [Maaike] and Derek [Hana], his grandson Liam, his brothers Malcolm [Terry] and Stuart [Laura], and predeceased by his mum Elizabeth (2010) and his dad Roy (2014). Ian will also be forever remembered by his numerous aunts, uncles and cousins in Australia, and his dear friends and colleagues.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the heart and stroke foundation.

Biking vs The Cost of driving

One of my friends wrote a post about how much he saves (or could save) by biking to work every day based on the distance to and from work, and the average gas price over the entire year and how far his car can go per litre of gas. It seemed like an interesting thing to build a calculator out of. Obviously it is more useful to be able to calculate out your own savings instead of just seeing how much your friend is saving based on his maths (and his vacation days).

I added a few things like how much CO2 you were not pumping into the atmosphere and lots of toggleable fields to play with. This is what it looks like with the basic data filled in:

Go play with it here, see how much money you could save by biking to work (or anywhere that you would normally be driving to daily). The code is available on github if you want to suggest changes or fix something. I didn’t write any tests for the maths, so there may be bugs because of things I didn’t consider.

I guess it’s back up

After my previous webhost got sold to godaddy, then got sold again (somehow?) and my site imploded because the email they sent was pretty misleading, it’s back on a new webhost I guess  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

I am still putting things back up, probably in the wrong spots like recipes and jordoomsday which probably used to be in different places, but hey, it’s my site, the seo doesn’t matter for things like that and I do what I want.

I’ll probably extract some of my old blog posts to put them here, but most of it was just nonsense anyway, so again ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.