A protest supposedly organized by a group of nurses refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 went ahead outside of Kingston General Hospital Tuesday morning.
Less than 50 socially distanced people, backed by local Peoples Party of Canada candidate Shelley Sayle-Udall, gathered at the waterfront across from the hospital Tuesday to protest the province’s and Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) vaccine policy for health-care workers.
A Facebook post from Sayle-Udall said an anonymous organizer, who is also a local health-care worker organized a group called Canadian Frontline Nurses and Health Alliance, meant to fight against being fired for not getting the vaccine.
Although on Friday, KHSC said it would not be firing those who refuse to get vaccinated, Tuesday, the hospital organization announced it would require all staff, volunteers and students who learn at its hospitals to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 22.
“In the meantime … all KHSC health-care workers who have not provided proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be required to be tested for COVID-19 and demonstrate negative test results at least once every seven days. As well, KHSC continues to support unvaccinated staff with education on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines,” a statement from the hospital organization said Tuesday.
KHSC said so far, around 90 per cent of its staff have shown proof of being fully vaccinated.
The announcement came almost in tandem with one from Providence Care, Kingston’s other hospital organization, which said it will be threatening terminations for staff who are not fully vaccinated by Oct. 22 and who do not have a valid exemption.
KHSC has yet to announce if it will be firing people for non-compliance.
Although most people at Tuesday’s protest would not speak to Global News, one person said they were a healthcare worker.
“I want the freedom to choose what I put inside my body,” said Lindsay Sullivan, who said she works at KGH.
“Its people like us and everybody here who are going to be dehumanized, and bullied. To me it’s all about segregation right now,” she continued.
Others said they came to the hospital that day not to fight the vaccine, but to fight for the right to choose whether to get the jab or not.
At one point, a woman driving by the hospital stopped her vehicle, and shouted to the group that she had cancer. Many from the group shouted back to her, some screaming “freedom,” in unison.
A man not taking part in the protest came to speak while wearing a mask.
“I do not believe in harassing people who are just trying to do their job and take care of others,” he said.
This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.
— With a file from The Canadian Press.View link »