Local health unit concerned about reports of anti-vaxxer protests

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The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is encouraged by the response for COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11, but is concerned about potential anti-vaxxers protests.

The Windsor Police Service has announced plans to provide a presence at the Devonshire Mall mass vaccination centre Thursday when youth appointments begin.

Acting medical officer of health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, says we live in a society where people are free to protest, but he's concerned about the latest developments.

"Holding a protest in front of a vaccination centre where you have young people and older people who are just trying to advance their own health, just speaking from my own perspective, is not the proper way to articulate their disagreements. Disagreements can be articulated in a civil manner but also have to recognize who the people are who will be affected."

Dr. Nesathurai says parents who bring their kids to be vaccinated should not have to face the additional stress of protestors antagonizing them.

"We accept that people may disagree with public health policy, public health practise. But as it relates to children and people who have already made a clinical decision, their decision should be respected and they should not be impeded in making that determination."

Health Unit CEO Nicole Dupuis says they continue to screen and monitor on the COVID booking site and will verify bookings if problems arise.

"There are a number of safeguards on the website that make it a little bit more cumbersome I suppose for someone who's just trying to book and put in information that isn't actually correct or factual or they're not actually interested in booking an appointment."

The first appointments for children aged 5 to 11 to receive their COVID-19 vaccines begin Thursday morning in Windsor-Essex.

Windsor police have sent out a reminder that protesters are required to remain on public property and public safety cannot be disrupted in any way.

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