vaccine protest

Hospitals speak out against anti-vaccine protests taking place at their front doors

If there's anything remotely as disruptive as the air show practice that's been taking place over the last few days, it's the anti-vax protests that have broken out following the province's announcement of a vaccine passport system.

Hoards of people who oppose the COVID-19 inoculation — and the government's steps to ensure more people get it — took to Queen's Park on Wednesday afternoon to express their indignation, later migrating to a few other locations, including in front of the city's major hospitals just a bit south along University Ave.

The University Health Network, which manages facilities like Toronto General and Princess Margaret on hospital row, was among the first employers in the city to mandate that its staff be fully immunized given the nature of their work.

And for whatever reason, anti-vaxxers decided that rallying in front of those who have been tirelessly working on the front lines to fight the virus for 17 months — and who have had to witness people struggle and die from it — would be the best course of action.

Similar incidents took place in other Canadian cities, such as Vancouver, where a protest in front of a main hospital was said to have "caused inconvenience & harm for some very sick people."

B.C. residents have until Oct. 24 to be fully vaccinated to take part in certain activities in certain settings, with a seven-day period following their second dose, meaning they have until Oct. 17 to get it.

In Ontario, the confirmation provided after your vaccine appointment will be required inside of places like bars, restaurants, casinos, movie theatres and large-scale events starting Sept. 22, with the rollout of a special QR code to follow within the month after.

Many have been extremely annoyed, disgusted and dismayed at the demonstrations, including doctors themselves, some of whom have come out to call both those protesting and those who refuse to get the vaccine selfish.

"It's the ultimate selfishness that individuals choose not to vaccinate themselves. And I think they don't realize they are too arrogant to understand that we live in a society where we all have to make sacrifices," an emergency room doctor from B.C. told the Globe on Friday.

The Ontario Hospital Association has also released an official statement on the topic, in which it calls the gatherings this week "truly disheartening" and said they "inflicted moral injury on healthcare workers."

"It is a bitter irony that should any of these anti-vaccine protesters get sick or seriously ill from COVID, it will be hospitals and frontline workers that they turn to for care, perhaps even to save their life," OHA President and CEO Anthony Dale writes.

"If you have not yet received both doses of the vaccine, we urge you to do so immediately... as we face another difficult fall and winter, our collective future will be determined by the sum of our individual choices."

Though vaccination numbers had plateaued lately given that the vast majority of those intending to get immunized against the virus had already gone and done so ASAP, the province saw more than a two-fold increase in bookings for shots within hours of the news of the new proof of vaccination program.

So though there may still be a stronghold of vocal anti-vaxxers, there will still hopefully be no need for further lockdowns come fall.

Lead photo by

Caryma Sa'd

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