Health unit reassures parents that online booking system is safe
November 24, 2021 10:19 a.m.
Following the announcement on social media that a local group planned to sabotage the online booking system, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit wants to reassure parents that they will be able to make an appointment to have their children vaccinated. young children against COVID-19.
The group, Stand Up Together, said it planned to flood the booking portal with fake appointments, blocking parents hoping to get their child vaccinated in due time. He also said he would protest outside the mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Thursday, just as children aged 5 to 11 would start getting vaccinated.
This is not a protest. This is an interference with the residents’ right to access health care. This is no different than physically blocking access to vaccination clinics and hospitals. And it is vile. pic.twitter.com/0Trw8UiTOu
— Irek Kusmierczyk (@Irek_K) November 23, 2021
Several public figures condemned the actions, including Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj, who said it amounted to blocking access to healthcare. He also called it “disgusting”. Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk called it “vile”.
Intentionally preventing anyone, especially children ages 5-11 and their parents, from accessing essential health services such as the COVID-19 vaccine is wrong and repugnant. https://t.co/KbPK6Nb8Ke
— Windsor Regional Hospital (@WRHospital) November 23, 2021
Windsor Police say they are aware of the planned protest and will attend.
However, health unit CEO Nicole Dupuis said hacking the online system would not be so easy. The website already has many safeguards in place to prevent people from making fake appointments.
“Keep in mind that this makes it more difficult for people who really want to make an appointment for vaccination,” she said. “We will continue to monitor and we may also track and verify appointments. We need additional resources to do that.
At times during the pandemic, the health unit found itself stretched thin to meet its obligations. In the past, it has received assistance from other public health units and the province. It only recently restarted some public health programs it had suspended.
Acting medical officer Dr Shanker Nesathurai said he respects peaceful protest, but sabotaging the reservation system goes way beyond that.
“No matter what you think of public health policy or immunization policy, inappropriately using a public resource to impact people who are simply trying to get their health services is not appropriate” , did he declare. “It’s different to disagree with public policy.”
He also asked protesters to consider the impact their protest will have on young children and to respect the rights of parents who choose to have their children vaccinated.
“Parents who bring their children to a vaccination center, doctor’s office or school should not put their children under additional psychological stress,” said Nesathurai, who has repeatedly acknowledged that children have had to undergo disproportionately higher impacts of COVID-19.
He noted that nearly 500 cohorts, or up to 10,000 students, have been expelled from school due to COVID-19 cases.
Two schools are closed due to rising case numbers, and seven others have outbreaks.
Nesathurai has said in the past that the best way to prevent school closures is to get vaccinated. He also told reporters Wednesday morning that if vaccination rates among school-age children reached the same level as other communicable diseases, the health unit could safely lift more public health restrictions.
On Wednesday, the health unit reported 64 additional cases of COVID-19. More than a third resulted from close contact with a previously confirmed case and 20 were from community transmission. One is travel-related and 19 are still under investigation.
It also reported another death in the community, a man in his 60s, bringing the March 2020 death toll to 470.
There are 374 active cases in Windsor-Essex and 22 people are hospitalized with the virus.
So far, 83.3% of residents over the age of 12 have received both doses of the vaccine.
The mass vaccination clinic remains open for walk-in appointments for those who want their first or second dose.