UNA statement on September 13 protests by opponents of COVID-19 vaccinations

It is demoralizing for nurses and other health care workers risking burnout and COVID-19 infection in hospitals and other health care settings to see people who oppose vaccination efforts interfere with access to health care facilities.

Hospitals across Canada, including two in Alberta, are bracing for protests today by groups opposed to COVID-19 vaccinations and pandemic protocols.

Based on recent protests by these groups, today’s events are expected to hamper access to health care facilities and intimidate health care workers, patients and families using the facilities.

While UNA recognizes the right of citizens to let their views be publicly known, now is not the time for large gatherings at which COVID-19 infections can spread.

UNA wishes to make it clear it is in no way affiliated with or connected to the group of individuals that call themselves “Canadian Frontline Nurses.” That group is primarily opposed to mandatory vaccination, but their social media accounts reveal general anti-vaccination, anti-mask, and anti-lockdown sentiments.

UNA is a union representing Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and allied health care workers in Alberta. It has a democratic structure and duly elected officials. Throughout the pandemic, UNA has stood consistently on the side of science. We have advocated for evidence-informed public health measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing, masking and vaccination.

The vast majority of nurses in this country have seen first-hand the devastating effects of COVID-19 and understand that the only way out of this pandemic is through vaccination, physical distancing, masking, and vaccination validation.

UNA is deeply troubled that even a few health care workers have participated in these activities. The few health care workers involved in these anti-vaccination protests take attention away from the important vaccination efforts by nurses and other health care workers across Canada.