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Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré endorses bill to stop harassment of health workers and public at vaccine clinics

MP also said more citizens need to step forward to get their vaccination to fight COVID-19
Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré.

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré is calling on constituents to support public health and the work of health care professionals in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Serré is also speaking out in favour of the proposed federal Bill C-3, which would make it an offence to harass health-care workers who are performing their duties or to harass members of the public who are seeking health services such as vaccinations. 

Serré made the comments in a letter to the editor where he remarked that vaccine hesitancy has become a challenge.

"Despite scientific proof that vaccines are effective and safe, many are still too skeptical to get a vaccine. Hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated worldwide. The vaccines are safe and have proven to be the best defence to reduce illness and ease the massive pressures encountered by far too many hospitals and their workforces across the country. We can all help dispel myths surrounding vaccines by only sharing credible, fact based and timely information," said Serré.

He said Bill C-3 is important because physicians in different parts of the North, most recently in Latchford, have been threatened over the course of the pandemic. Serré added that parents and children were intimidated at a recent vaccine clinic in North Bay. 

"These acts must stop. I support the right to protest, however, this is not the appropriate way or place to do so – it is truly unacceptable," said Serré.

He also urged individuals to make the choice to get vaccinated since rebuilding the country's economy will require Canadians to be healthier.

"Vaccination is one of the most effective tools we have at our disposal to protect broader public health in the face of COVID-19, and to prevent future outbreaks. Vaccination - used in combination with preventative public health measures - offers the best available protection for Canadians and will contribute to reaching the overall levels of vaccination to sustain a resilient economic recovery," said Serré.

In the same letter Serré publicly praised the medical officers of health for both Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) and the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit for their advice and expertise in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Serré said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe and Dr. Jim Chirico have both shown "tremendous dedication and leadership through these challenging times" and for that they deserve sincere gratitude. 

Their sharing of transparent, timely and expert information empowered more than 84.3 per cent of eligible individuals in the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit catchment area and 85.4 per cent of eligible individuals in the PHSD catchment to get fully vaccinated. I wish to offer my sincere thanks for each individual contribution and sacrifices made over the duration of this pandemic. The countless hours away from loved ones to help offer some peace of mind is greatly appreciated," Serré said.