Staged blocks from Vancouver General Hospital, Wednesday’s anti-vaccine protest featured placards reading Stop the Shot and Medical Tyranny. There were also calls for freedom and chants to “Lock her up,” apparently referring to provincial health officer Bonnie Henry. 

Below are two perspectives: one from a resident who is concerned about mandatory vaccinations and another from a paramedic who was both disgusted and disheartened by the rally. Each letter has been edited for length and clarity.

Resident: Don’t force vaccines

The following is from Port Moody resident Tim Solntsev:

I’m in a very precarious position. I am in my late 20s and as a healthy individual, I’m being forced by my company and government to take a vaccine that has no long-term studies of it.

Thankfully, I have not yet got C0VID-19 but have witnessed six people in my age category that have fully recovered. In fact my girlfriend is currently sick with it and is in isolation. She’s got very mild symptoms. So, this is where the suspicion arises . . . only 26,997 people have died in Canada! In two years! — that’s 1.79 percent of 1.51 million people who got COVID-19 who died (It’s horrible, I know . . . but it’s not terrible, compared to how it has TRANSFORMED ALL our lives!!!) 

Look I get that vaccines are important and I’m not against them. Let them be taken by vulnerable people but don’t force healthy people to take it because we do not have long term research on this powerful vaccine.

Editor’s note: Long-term effects of COVID-19 include damage to the lungs, heart and brain, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Protest, but stay away from hospitals, paramedic says

With a very different outlook, the following letter comes from a Tri-Cities-based paramedic with more than 30 years on the job who tells us that Wednesday’s protest likely killed her patient. Due to possible professional recriminations, we have withheld her name.

Yesterday’s anti mask demonstration was disgusting! Beyond disgusting! 

Here’s an example of how badly yesterday’s disruptions affected me, my partner and our patient.

We were called for an industrial injury patient with an arterial bleed. Our dispatch informed us that access to Vancouver General was blocked by protesters and we would need to take the patient to St Paul’s emergency. 

On arrival we assessed the guy, yep big arterial bleed! Blood loss was significant.

My partner got on the radio and asked dispatch to convey to the ER the patient would need surgery and several units of blood. 

We loaded this nice fella onto the stretcher and hit the lights and sirens.

It took us 45 minutes to get from the Vancouver waterfront to the emergency entrance of St Paul’s. Now normally that would be an eight-minute transport time at the most.

We were blocked by protesters when we tried to enter St Paul’s, police had to move them out of our way, all the while they were screaming at us that we are part of the conspiracy! Can you imagine how that felt? 

My patient is bleeding out in front of me and the protesters are screaming at us we are part of a conspiracy? 

 I can’t describe the anger and resentment I suddenly felt.

 I have never felt that in my entire career.

We got this now semi-conscious man into the emergency department and were met by the vascular surgeon and his team. 

The surgeon’s story was as bad or worse than ours. Due to the demonstrators we could not get our patient to Vancouver General so the surgeon left VGH in his car to drive to St. Paul’s to perform the surgery. The protesters blocked his way out, screamed at him for wearing a mask and accused him of contributing to the conspiracy. They slammed signs against his car and pounded on the windows. 

He said his car was dented and at one point he wasn’t certain they would let him through. 

We took our patient directly upstairs and into the surgical room. They were cross matching for blood type when we left and the surgeons were scrubbing up. 

Did my patient survive? I don’t know but the delay likely killed him.

He was an average guy with a sense of humour, a family, kids, and because of the delays caused by yesterday’s protesters I had to watch him bleed out in the back of my ambulance for an hour when he could have been into a hospital and surgery within 20 minutes. 

Did those protesters yesterday care they caused delays that likely killed a man?  Do they care they have frightened and scarred healthcare workers? Caused property damage? Dented my ambulance and the surgeon’s car? I doubt it. 

Protest if you want, but stay the heck away from the hospitals and emergency entrances! People are dying and we are doing our best to save their lives, please stop making this difficult job harder than it needs to be, you have no idea the damage your protest yesterday caused or the lives it altered.