OPSEU/SEFPO condemns planned anti-vaccine protests in front of hospitals

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
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Toronto — OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is condemning the anti-vaccine protests taking place in front of Ontario hospitals.
“Front-line health care workers, patients and their families should not have to run a gauntlet of angry protesters just to go to work or get the health care they need,” said Thomas. “These are innocent bystanders who don’t make policy decisions. We owe hospital front line workers our respect and gratitude for risking their lives to take care of us in the last 18 months, not angry protests. And patients in need of care should not have to put up with this nonsense.”
Media reports indicate protests are planned outside five hospitals in the Greater Toronto area. Some protests were held earlier this year in front of hospitals — patients had difficulty getting through and health care workers were harassed.
“I personally support vaccination. While I support the right to protest, this activity and its intended target is unacceptable. Full stop. If we are to escape the nightmare of this pandemic now is the time to come together,” said Thomas.
OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida said the protest organizers are misguided if they think that targeting hospital patients and workers is going to win them any support.
“We’re talking about some of the most vulnerable patients in the province, and some of the most courageous and heroic workers you’ll ever meet: they don’t deserve to get caught in the middle of a fight they have nothing to do with,” said Almeida.
OPSEU/SEFPO represents tens of thousands of front-line workers and Thomas says he hopes the protesters will show good judgement and leave patients and front-line workers alone.
“I truly hope better judgement will prevail and that protesters abandon this ill-conceived and ill-received strategy.”