Photo Credit: RNAO

RNAO and OMA condemn anti-vaccine protests outside hospitals

Sunday, September 12, 2021 8:14:00 PM

The professional associations representing Ontario's nurses and doctors strongly condemn the protests that are making it difficult for patients and health-care workers to get in and out of hospitals where they work or receive care.

Most people who go to hospitals go there because they have to. They are sick. They need urgent, emergency or lifesaving care. They are having cancer treatment, surgeries or diagnostic tests. Some are getting ready to give birth while many others are being treated for COVID-19. These are places where professionals are using the latest evidence and science to carry out the work they were educated to do and eager to deliver.

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) and the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) are calling for safe zones around hospitals and other health settings where patients seek the care they need and where health-care professionals work.

We respect democracy and the rights of people to protest but these must not be held anywhere where they block entry and exit to health-care facilities, especially access for emergency vehicles or patients seeking emergency care. The RNAO and OMA also say charges must be pressed against anyone engaging in harassment, aggression or hate speech, if these protests take place.

Nurses, doctors and other health-care workers have been working around the clock on the front lines of the pandemic for 18 months helping to keep our communities safe. These COVID-19 heroes need the resources and supports to continue the battle – now in the thick of a fourth wave. They cannot and must not be distracted, or worse, discouraged by protests at the doorsteps of their workplaces.

We know that vaccines work. This is why we are also reinforcing our urgent call for mandatory vaccination for all health-care workers and all educators unless they have a medical exemption; as well as our full support for vaccine certificates. Getting 90 per cent of eligible Ontarians fully vaccinated is how we are going to emerge from this pandemic, the two associations say.

SOURCE: Ontario Medical Association