Police investigating after protesters harass families as children get their vaccines in North Bay
Abby Blaszczyk took her seven-year-old son to be vaccinated Sunday in North Bay, and the experience has left her and her young child upset, after they were harassed by anti-vaccination protestors.
“As we pulled in they just verbally assaulted us. I had a seven- and four-year-old in the car,” Blaszczyk said.
“They were swearing and just screaming at us. There (were) men with megaphones, and as I came out one man with a megaphone screamed that I had just injected my son with poison.”
In a news release Tuesday, the North Bay Police Service said they are investigating what went on at the clinic and said charges could be laid.
"Where criminal acts are found to have occurred, police will take appropriate enforcement action, including laying charges," police said.
"The North Bay Police Service respects the rights of individuals to peacefully protest, but will not tolerate any interference with people’s right to safety when accessing health care and attending a vaccination clinic."
Police said they will be providing an increased police presence at future clinics and, "if criminal behaviour takes place, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action."
Blaszczyk said the experience inside the vaccine centre at One Kids Place went smoothly and she said the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit ran an organized vaccination clinic.
Outside, it was a different story.
“They had signs that were just completely untrue, they said save the children and stuff like that,” she said. “They were screaming at every family that was walking through.”
The unpleasant scene continued as she and her child tried to go home.
“As we left through the actual parking lot and had to pass the group, they screamed and told my son that I was a murderer, they told me I was committing genocide, and then we drove away,” added Blaszczyk.
CTV News reached out to the health unit and the North Bay Police Service, but no one was made available.
North Bay Mayor Al McDonald said he would like to see legal action taken.
“I’ve written the chief and the chair of the police services board, and I did convey the concerns I was hearing from our citizens to them, said McDonald.
“I’m going to talk to our legal and our security to see what we can do to assist.”
“But, I think it’s really important, that these individuals if they are choosing to be vaccinated they shouldn’t be blocked and they shouldn’t be intimidated at all,” he added.
While the experience for the Blaszczyks was one they don’t want to re-live, she said she believes in the vaccine and will be taking her four-year-old daughter to get vaccinated in the New Year.
“I believe in the science of vaccines, and I was very proud to have him vaccinated,” she said.