Stop harassing staff and volunteers when getting your vaccine, Timmins police warn
Police in Timmins are warning people who are reluctantly getting their COVID-19 vaccine to behave themselves and stop harassing staff and volunteers at clinics.
Police spokesperson Marc Depatie told CTV's Lydia Chubak that some people getting vaccinated recently aren't happy about it and are only doing it because of vaccine mandates in the province.
Some have made comments to staff, threatening consequences if they react to the vaccine or they get sick.
In a news release Wednesday, police said they respect everyone's right to protest, but some people have gone too far.
"The Timmins Police Service has been made aware of a number of recent incidents involving menacing or threatening behaviours at COVID-19 vaccine clinics," police said in a news release Wednesday.
"While the Timmins Police Service respects any individual’s Charter-protected right to self-expression, the expression of any opinion must not breach the threshold of that which is intended to threaten, menace, or intimidate the recipient."
Anti-vaccine protests have been held across the country during the pandemic, including ones outside of hospitals. Officials in Sudbury have added security for some vaccine clinics.
Vaccines have been polarizing for some, Timmins police said, leading some residents to target the people administering them.
"Healthcare professionals and volunteers who are deployed at any vaccine clinics in Timmins are fully entitled to lawful protection from any threatening utterances, gestures, or behaviour that is intended to create a hostile or menacing environment," the release said.
"No matter what the point of view or frustration level that any person attending these clinics might have, an expectation of common courtesy is clear and obvious. Those attending vaccination clinics must adhere to the expected rules of conduct provided by the staff at the clinic or to leave when requested to do so."
Police said they will investigate "any instances necessary" to ensure a safe and secure environment for attendees and vaccination staff.
"Should the evidence derived from any such investigation support charges under any provincial or federal acts of Parliament, then it will be pursued by means of laying the applicable charges," the release said.
"The Timmins police have an obligation to preserve and enhance the safety of all citizens. Anyone found indulging in behaviour that is meant to disrupt or intimidate vaccination clinic staff will have the incident investigated as necessary."
--With notes from Lydia Chubak