A protest, allegedly staged by health care workers and co-signed by local People’s Party of Canada candidate Shelley Sayle-Udall, drew a crowd of close to fifty on Tuesday morning.
The protests come on the same day Kingston Health Sciences Center and Providence Care announced mandatory vaccines for healthcare workers.
The protesters elected to stage their demonstration across the street from KGH, in clear view of the hospital’s chemotherapy centre.
In Tuesday’s statement, KHSC made very clear what they expect from staff when it comes to vaccination.
“In the face of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, fuelled by the more transmissible Delta variant, everyone who works, learns and volunteers at Kingston Health Sciences Centre will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 22, 2021,” the statement on KHSC’s website reads.
In a Facebook post last week, Sayle-Udall shared the thoughts of an anonymous KHSC employee who organized the protest today.
Sayle-Udall says the PPC stands for freedom to choose, and were there to support hospital workers’ right to choose.
“They worked through the pandemic and none of them got COVID, none of them got sick,” Sayle-Udall said.
“They’re not wanting to take an experimental injection at this point in time until the study is done and they’ve been able to read the data and if there’s any safety trials that can be done.”
That being said, a July outbreak at KGH involved three healthcare workers who were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
The organizers claim to be fighting against healthcare workers being fired for their decision not to get the vaccine, and alleges that as of today, those who do not get the vaccine will be forced to take a two week leave of absence and then subsequently fired.
Although today’s release stated unvaccinated workers will have the option of demonstrating a negative COVID test every seven days, Sayle-Udall says during the protest staff were informed by email that despite the release by KHSC vaccines will in fact be mandatory.
The protest was met with nearly unanimous disdain from passers-by and hospital staff as well as on social media, while the mandate drew more positive reaction than negative from frontline workers.
Providence Care’s new policy mandates employees to show proof of a first dose or exemption by September 28, and proof of a second dose by October 29.
Their release states that 86-percent of employees have provided proof of vaccination, while KHSC says 90-percent have received both doses to this point.