All Ontario NDP, Liberal and Green MPPs are vaccinated. As for the PCs, it's unclear.

All Ontario NDP, Liberal and Green MPPs are vaccinated. As for the PCs, it’s unclear.

While Ontario opposition parties jumped at the chance to boast that all of their MPPs are vaccinated, the governing party did not.

QP Briefing reached out to each party, and in some cases individual MPP offices, to confirm whether or not members were vaccinated — and if not, whether they planned to get their shots.

"I think it is important" for politicians to get vaccinated and speak about it publicly, said Susan Bondy, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

"It serves as a role model. And we do know that when people are receiving information about things that they have concerns about, it is very powerful and influential to hear from a person that you know shares your values and concerns," she said.

She noted that Progressive Conservative voters might value individual choice more highly and said hearing from someone who shares those values say that they've decided on their own that a vaccine is the right choice could be persuasive.

Suzanne Jackson, a behavioural scientist at Dalla Lana, said, "In general, people will follow the example of or listen to those they trust."

If they trust their political leaders that could make a difference, but it's more likely that they'll pay attention to the opinions of their friends and family, she said.

Opposition parties said all of their MPPs are fully vaccinated, or will be soon.

All NDP MPPs are fully vaccinated, except for one who has their second shot booked for Monday, according to party flaks. Every Liberal MPP also has both their shots, as well as Leader Steven Del Duca, the party said. And the sole Green MPP, Leader Mike Schreiner, is also fully dosed, his party said.

The governing party was a different story.

The Progressive Conservative party, and a spokesperson for the premier's office, did not respond to multiple requests about MPP vaccine coverage sent over five days.

So, QPB reached out to each PC MPP's constituency office, as well as ministers' spokespeople, and searched each member's Twitter posts for keywords about getting their shots.

Nearly all PCs reposted party-distributed messaging about the importance of vaccines, but only some posted about getting their own shots.

Premier Doug Ford got his second AstraZeneca shot in front of the cameras when some were hesitant about taking it.

Twelve of the 71 PC MPPs' offices responded, saying they'd received both shots: those of Ted Arnott, Aris Babikian, Bob Bailey, Steve Clark, Amy Fee, Vincent Ke, Daryl Kramp, Gila Martow, Jane McKenna, Norm Miller, Donna Skelly and Bill Walker.

At least eleven PCs have tweeted that they have received both doses: Raymond Cho, Stan Cho, Rudy Cuzzetto, Christine Hogarth, Jim McDonell, David Piccini, Ross Romano, Sheref Sabawy, Todd Smith, Nina Tangri and Effie Triantafilopoulos.

And 20 PCs tweeted about getting one dose: Deepak Anand, Toby Barrett, Christine Elliott, Victor Fedeli, Goldie Ghamari, Logan Kanapathi, Andrea Khanjin, Stephen Lecce, Lisa MacLeod, Robin Martin, Monte McNaughton, Caroline Mulroney, Sam Oosterhoff, Billy Pang, Michael Parsa, Randy Pettapiece, Jeremy Roberts, Amarjot Sandhu, Laurie Scott and Michael Tibollo.

That leaves 27 PCs whose vaccination status is unknown: Peter Bethlenfalvy, Will Bouma, Paul Calandra, Lorne Coe, Stephen Crawford, Doug Downey, Jill Dunlop, Merrilee Fullerton, Parm Gill, Ernie Hardeman, Mike Harris, Sylvia Jones, Natalia Kusendova, Christina Mitas, Rick Nicholls, Lindsey Park, Rod Phillips, Kaleed Rasheed, Greg Rickford, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Dave Smith, Kinga Surma, Vijay Thanigasalam, Lisa Thompson, Daisy Wai, John Yakabuski and Jeff Yurek.

Nearly all PC MPPs have tweeted often copy-pasted messages in support of vaccination.

As a pharmacist, Yurek vaccinated other people himself, and Kusendova is a nurse who likewise returned to the front lines during the pandemic — so it's difficult to imagine they haven't got their shots — but their offices did not return requests for comment.

Of the three independent members, two said they're fully vaccinated and one declined to comment.

Jim Wilson's office said he's had both shots.

Roman Baber, who was booted from the PC caucus after publicly airing his anti-lockdown views, said he's fully vaccinated.

"While your question may be fair if asked of elected officials, I don't believe it is appropriate to inquire [into] someone's private medical information," he added via email.

QPB only asked elected MPPs for this information.

Randy Hillier, a vocal skeptic of COVID-19 and its vaccines, declined to share his vaccination status.

"I share my medical history with my Dr.," he said in an email. "Do you believe it is now reasonable and appropriate not only to inquire into someone’s personal medical status, but to also make it public?"

Rounding out the list is the sole New Blue MPP, another former PC in Belinda Karahalios, who didn't respond.

Encouraging others to get vaccines isn't the only way to increase rates as Ontario descends into the fourth wave, Bondy said. Getting back to normal will likely require some kind of vaccine mandate for high-risk, public-facing jobs, she said.

“It's complicated in terms of human resource rights," she said. "It would save a lot of strife and fear if it was a provincewide policy to require vaccination in high-risk occupational settings that serve the public, like health-care sectors, long-term care, educational facilities. If they could find it in themselves to get behind that policy, it would ease a lot of confrontation."

Of the four major parties at Queen's Park, only the Progressive Conservatives oppose vaccine passports for domestic use and mandatory vaccination policies for health-care and education workers.

Editor's note: After this came out, some PC MPPs whose vaccination status was unknown came forward to say they've been fully vaccinated. This story hasn't been changed since it was first published but we're keeping a running list of MPPs' vaccine status that will be updated on a regular basis. You can find it here

Jack Hauen


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