Patience wearing thin: Anger aimed at anti-vaccine movement grows

You don’t need to search far on social media to see the continued ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality when it comes to the choice to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

There’s also a growing impatience among the fully vaccinated, who see vaccine hesitancy as a selfish choice.

Bea Penney is watching the debate over the COVID-19 vaccine closely.

“I feel that maybe the anti-vaccine people don't have the appropriate information that they need," said Penney who is a retired nurse.

Factions of the unvaccinated minority have been very vocal at times about the choice of whether or not to get the jab against COVID-19.

Penney said it is her belief that all Canadians at this time bear a huge responsibility.

"We need to take a care of our health and the health of other people," said Penney.

Nova Scotia Community College instructor Ed McHugh agrees.

"My wife is a nurse, and she retired two years ago,” said McHugh. “Last March when COVID-19 hit she went back to work."

McHugh is proud of the contribution his wife is making. As the pandemic continues with multiple waves, he says he has lost all patience with the ‘anti-vax’ movement.

"When I watch these anti-vaxxers in action, they frustrate the hell out of me,” said McHugh. "I think that they are getting way too much air time for the percentage of people that they are."

McHugh also said he is disappointed with the ongoing toxic dialogue on social media that connected to COVID-19 and the vaccine.

"We don't want to touch freedom of speech. We are going to leave that alone,” said McHugh. “But the internet has provided a spot for these people to meet and communicate."

Digital anthropologist Giles Crouch said based on messaging he is seeing on social media, pro-vaccine people are angry.

"They know that in order to get to herd immunity, we need 85 per cent of the population vaccinated,” said Crouch.

“We are not getting there and some people are tired and frustrated. I am seeing that and they are lashing out against the anti-vaccine people, and they're now becoming angry, as much as the anti-vaxxers are angry."

McHugh hopes the issue will settle down, and more people will eventually get their shots.

"What is good for society has to trump the private views of some citizens," said McHugh.

As the anti-vaccine dialogue continues and the COVID-19 case count increases, Penney has concerns about where it will lead.

"I am very fearful of another shut down," said Penney who says multiple province-wide shut downs have already taken a major toll on all Maritimers.