Kelowna News

'How dare you': Healthcare workers react to rally against COVID vaccine cards at Kelowna General

A COVID-19 vaccine passport protest outside of Kelowna General Hospital, Sept. 1, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/David Crawford

A Kelowna operating room doctor says he has never been so disappointed in his community after witnessing the COVID-19 vaccine passport protest outside of Kelowna General Hospital.

“View from the OR today. The same OR that is running at more than 60% capacity for the third week in a row due to an overwhelming number of COVID unvaccinated hospitalizations. I’ve never been so disappointed in my community,” wrote Dr. Gareth Eeson, a surgical oncologist at Kelowna General Hospital, on Twitter.


Dr. Eeson declined an interview request.

Hundreds gathered outside of Kelowna General Hospital in the Central Okanagan and Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops yesterday, Sept. 1, protesting provincial mandates that will require people to confirm their vaccine record to access certain services like restaurants and fitness centres starting this month.

READ MORE: A look at COVID-19 vaccine certificate programs across Canada

Longtime Kelowna counter-protestor and healthcare worker David Crawford said he was so disappointed in the scene yesterday, he is no longer counter-protesting.

“It was awful. It was just awful. I’ve never seen humanity at its worst like that ever before,” Crawford said. “I was enraged and depressed and traumatized… it was especially dreadful that they chose a place of healing to disrupt the lives of so many people. It was just appalling they would go to a hospital."

He was surprised by the sheer number of people who showed up to protest at KGH.

“I think down the road at the next pandemic of how many people will be killed needlessly because of their ignorance and stupidity… I was looking around me and these will be the people dying in the next one. It saddened me beyond measure,” Crawford said.

A COVID-19 vaccine passport protest outside of Kelowna General Hospital, Sept. 1, 2021.
A COVID-19 vaccine passport protest outside of Kelowna General Hospital, Sept. 1, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/David Crawford

Protestors he meet told him they were nurses, he said.

“I told them they were a disgrace to their profession,” he said.

Interior Health said in a written statement the protests did not significantly disrupt hospital operations at either hospital and it hopes they did not deter individuals from getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“We can not speculate or speak to HR matters related to employees who may have participated in the demonstrations,” Interior Health said.

Myriah Acheson wrote on Facebook that while working at the Kelowna hospital yesterday, she sat and listened to the honks, yells and jeers of protestors and cried while on her break.

“How dare you hold this here. Where the nurses and doctors will care for you no matter your choice," she wrote. "Where we are quite literally crumbling under the pressure of your decision. How dare you say my body, my choice when your choice endangers so many. How dare you chose to endanger the vulnerable around you.

"How dare you put us in a position to have to prioritize who gets the bed, the nurse, the doctor. How dare you choose to protest in the very place that will save your sad, broken body when the very thing your protesting could have saved us all.”

Acheson said saving lives is not a political decision.

“Perhaps if you knew what it felt like to have a heart stop or ribs crack under your hands, or the sound of a flat line or a widow screaming, you would choose differently and we would not have to live in a world that requires mandates. How dare you,” she wrote.

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