Vaccine protesters demonstrate outside Cornwall hospital

Scenes from an anti-vaccination protest outside Cornwall Community Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Between 100 and 150 people marched with placards outside Cornwall Community Hospital Wednesday to protest a mandatory vaccination policy.

Among those in the crowd walking the sidewalks on McConnell Avenue was Christopher Cameron, who used to work at CCH but is now a registered nurse at the Ottawa Hospital. He says he’s not vaccinated based on personal beliefs.

“I don’t think the State has a right to force a procedure on somebody, it’s as simple as that,” he says.

Cameron says nurses have to provide patients informed consent before a procedure and the same should told true for employees about vaccines. “We have to tell them that they have right to choose for a procedure or not. We cannot coerce them, make them fearful for it.”

Asked if this was about the Cornwall hospital or government policies, Cameron says “they’re one in the same aren’t they? They implement what the government says.”

Cameron accuses the nurses’ union of siding with the government. “They back the government all the time. I don’t call it ONA (Ontario Nurses Association), I call it GONA, because they are government forced. Nobody trusts our unions anymore. They do nothing for us. In right, they should stand for us but they don’t.”

Also protesting was Linh Dao, a worker at Parisien Manor, who has not been vaccinated. She says she got suspended from work over mask issues.

“We have freedom of choice and we have constitutional rights, a law. Government is always overstepped the boundary of the law. They’re the one who’s breaking the law,” Dao says.

Dao says she’s given a rapid test and temperature check every two days for the past year and has always passed.

“I don’t mind the mask but there’s a time that you need the mask off when there’s nobody around. But because we are at work they still need you to put the mask up and I (kept getting a) warning. I got suspended because of that. The vaccine I said no to it so they’re giving me a hard time about the mask because I’m not vaccinated. I’m not carrying COVID,” Dao says.

“I don’t believe in it because we have our own immune system. What it is is like a cold.”

The hospital announced last week that all employees would have to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 16 unless they have a medical exemption. Those who refuse will have to go through an education campaign and regular testing.

Click on a thumbnail below to see other pictures from the protest.