I WILL START by saying I did not know there were anti-vaccine protests scheduled all over British Columbia for Sept. 1. An update from a trusted news source revealed a reality that baffled me.
What better place than a hospital, the protesters thought. Never mind that for a long time now, the hospital has been the scene of some terrible battles with the COVID-19 virus (spoiler alert: it still is). Many people were intubated, some died, and many others recovered but not everyone is symptom-free. Some are what now we know to be long-haulers.
I have family members and friends who are healthcare workers and I know how terrifying it was when it all started. They knew the risk they were putting themselves in and their families too. Many went without seeing their loved ones for weeks or months on end for fear of spreading the virus.
That was when the first wave started; we’ve just entered the fourth. The blatantly ignorant ‘My body, my choice’ type of sign that protesters held, along with other similar messages is worth digging into for a bit.
Would the protesters say that when it comes to any other diseases that need treatment provided by the medical establishment? Are they willing to discard all the science we have amassed over many years of research because somehow, this one vaccine just doesn’t sit right with them? Would they be willing to let go of vaccines in general and run on a Russian roulette type of lifestyle which will see many succumb or suffer from infections that can be treated or prevented with the scientific knowledge we now have?
As for the gall to take such protests to hospitals, which led to ambulances being slowed down on their way to the ER, it led to nurses being harassed, and to vulnerable patients having to get through a sea of unvaccinated, unmasked people on their way to or from treatment… I think we have just witnessed a new low.
On a side note… the hospital is where people are being treated and lives are being saved, not where the vaccine policies are being decided upon. Protesting there is selfish and disrespectful towards healthcare workers because they are the ones doing the hard exhausting work, both physically and emotionally, and they deserve none of what went on Wednesday.
Here’s the thing: I admit that there is always room for better when it comes to health care. Like everything else in life, we do better by adding more knowledge to what we know so far. Speaking of which, here’s a good rundown of vaccine immunity, in general and for COVID-19 in particular. But it is not lost on me that should any of Wednesday’s protesters get severely sick with this virus, they will be seeking help at the very hospital they thought they’d pester with all those anti-science signs.
I will also say that I have nothing but gratefulness for the way I was treated when I was in a hospital when my sons were born; or for the way my youngest was treated when he had severe asthma attacks and I do not mean just the medical treatment he was given, but also the kindness and reassurance.
As for the claims that a vaccine passport is nothing but tyranny and dictatorship, here’s the thing: it’s a piece of paper that shows a record of vaccination. You get the same if you get a tetanus shot, or a polio booster. Children cannot attend public school if they do not show a record of certain vaccines. It’s called public safety and it has its place in present-day life.
A few years back when my youngest was still struggling with asthma, he could not have been vaccinated due to his age, which means he would have been part of the vulnerable population. I am grateful that he is no longer in that category, but I also know that many others who cannot say the same. Their hope, and their loved ones’ who are concerned for them, is that the rest of us act in a responsible manner to contain the spread of the virus.
Accessible health care should never be taken for granted. Or science. As for the right to protest… yes, we have the right to protest, but not in front of hospitals. Not when the numbers of COVID patients are once again skyrocketing and not when there’s people fighting for their lives inside those very walls. It’s just basic human decency.