Reported by Richard Coffin

The issue of safety around COVID-19 vaccination clinics is getting provincial attention.

This after an incident outside a child and youth clinic in North Bay on Sunday.

Abby Blaszczyk says her whole family was verbally accosted when they brought her seven-year-old son to get his first vaccination on Sunday at One Kid’s Place in North Bay and again when they were leaving.

“They screamed at my son that we had just injected him with poison. They were just spewing foul, disgusting misinformation.  When we drove out of the parking lot they yelled into my car that I was a murderer. That I was committing genocide.  It was pretty awful,” she says.

Blaszczyk says this was not a protest.

“It was verbal assault. It was harassment and it was intimidation for small, scared children who were just trying to seek healthcare,” she says.

Because of this incident, Ontario’s New Democrats are reiterating a call for safety zones around vaccination clinics.

“What anti-vaxxers did (Sunday) in North Bay is despicable. It’s completely unacceptable that any family would be terrorized like Abby’s was,” says Michael Mantha, NDP MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin. “We should be making it easier for parents to take their kids to get vaccinated against COVID-19, not leaving them vulnerable to walking a gauntlet of hate on their way into their appointment.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath brought forward a private member’s bill in August to create safety zones in places like hospitals, schools and vaccine clinics.

“I think that would be a big help.  I think there needs to be at least a police presence or police protection at clinics in North Bay going forward so that other children do not have to be subjected to this kind of behaviour,” says Blaszczyk.

The NDP bill would make it a provincial offence, punishable by a fine of up to $25,000, to subject people to anti-public health harassment in the aforementioned areas.