A brief treatise on the ethics of immunizations

The Covid-19 saga is down to a race between virus and vaccine.

The current wave of the disease has been brutal. Almost as if it knows that vaccines are nipping at its heels, the pandemic coronavirus has turned on the afterburners: far more contagious variants like B.1.1.7, 501Y.V2, and CAL.20C have emerged, sending the number of cases skyrocketing around the world, cramming hospitals and intensive care units as the global death toll rockets well beyond two million.

In reality, the novel coronavirus doesn’t “know” a thing. Like all viruses, it’s a mindless…


“Do as we say, not as we do.”

“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

For some, the grass is always greener on the other side of fence.

I know whereof I speak.

I was barely a teenager before I started casting about in earnest for a career, one that would not only keep me interested but would supply me with ample dough to travel, play, and support a family. (I was arrogant enough, even then, to believe that someone would marry me and bear my children.)

I settled on veterinary medicine as conduit to fulfillment…


Covid, Conquered

If, by some strange and fortuitous rent in the fabric of time and space, I reigned as the Emperor of Canada;

And if the subjects of my land were beset by a great and awful plague, a vile scourge that had besieged the entire world, a dastardly pestilence that had carried away thousands upon thousands of my subjects (many of them the revered elders of my kingdom), while sickening hundreds of thousands more;

And if the sorcerers of a kingdom located — by great providence — right next door magically conjured up a vaccine against this plague;

And…


The logic of anti-maskers, examined.

“Thou shalt not Covid thy neighbour’s life. Wear a mask.”

Church billboard outside Royal Columbia Hospital in New Westminster, British Columbia

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person,” Oscar Wilde once noted. “Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”

The famous playwright died 120 years ago, destitute and alone, three short years after being released from prison. His sexual orientation had earned him a two-year stint in the slammer.

If Mr. Wilde were alive today, he’d find the world a more enlightened place, undoubtedly.

He might also…


Those who scorn the lethality of Covid-19 are risking the lives of others.

Morbidity, n. — A diseased state or symptom; ill health.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

Mark Twain

Under a vast blue mid-November sky, Peter climbed the grain bin to check on its contents — a task he’d completed countless times in thirty-five years of farming Alberta’s prairies.

Halfway to the top his foot slipped on one of the metal rungs. …


Alberta is the latest jurisdiction to be crushed by a tsunami of COVID patients — but it didn’t have to be this way.

Newly married in 1951 and pregnant with anticipation, my folks joined the great post-war exodus from Europe to North America, emigrating by ocean-liner from Holland to Canada in search of opportunity.

Their straight-laced version of Protestant religion crossed the Atlantic with them. …


COVID has made a worrisome resurgence. It’s time for a reset.

We were extremely fortunate in Alberta to suffer only a glancing blow from COVID-19 during the first wave of the virus’ march around the globe. We prepared for a tsunami of cases but encountered barely a ripple.

There were a number of reasons why we were spared, as I discussed in some detail last May in This Pandemic is a Three-Legged Beast. …


Tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash-bang grenades.

That’s what it took to clear peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square last June to make way for a presidential photo-op outside of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.

Pesky protesters properly banished, President Trump held a Bible high, waving it about as the cameras rolled.

It’s a sure bet that the President has little working knowledge of the book he brandished that day. It contains, for instance, these words spoken by Jesus Himself: “So in everything do to others as you would have them do unto you.”

It may take more than…


COVID, craziness, and common sense

The President of the United States is sick, afflicted with a case of COVID-19.

Or he was sick, if his macho, mask-removin’, chest-thumpin’, helicopter-salutin’ return to the White House on Monday evening is to be believed. He saluted the chopper that dropped him on his well-groomed lawn for almost as long as a now-famous house-fly hung out on Mike Pence’s closely-cropped hair on Wednesday night during the vice-presidential debate.

The fly was a Democratic spy, some have said — sent by operatives to divine what, if anything, was going on in the Vice-President’s head. I…


It’s time we learned to live with this virus.

With August barely in her grave, the aspen trees in Calgary took their first trembling steps into autumn, exchanging pleasant greenery for royal hues of gold and red. Fall was still officially three weeks in the future, but there was no time to waste — in this neck of the woods fall is but a colourful hiccup between the end of summer and the start of endless winter.

In lockstep with the quivering aspens, trembling parents — scared witless by the pandemic — sent their children back to school. …

J. Edward Les, MD

Pediatric Emergency Physician

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store