Groote Schuur Hospital board condemns anti-vaxxers' 'disrespectful, demoralising' sentiments

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Protesters congregate outside Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town on 21 August 2021 to protest against mandatory vaccination.
Protesters congregate outside Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town on 21 August 2021 to protest against mandatory vaccination.
PHOTO: ER Lombard/Gallo Images
  • The Groote Schuur Hospital board has condemned claims made by anti-Covid-19-vaccine demonstrators during a protest outside the hospital.
  • It has described the claims as "humiliating and demoralising".
  • More than 1 000 hospital staffers have been infected and 20 died as a result of Covid-19.

Anti-Covid-19-vaccine demonstrators' claims on Saturday that Groote Schuur Hospital was a "gas chamber", while healthcare staffers worked hard to take care of Covid-19 patients, were disrespectful, humiliating and demoralising, the hospital board said.

The board was reacting to a demonstration outside the hospital on Saturday, during which protesters held anti-vaccine placards and called on the government to support those who do not want to be vaccinated.

"While the crux of their gripe focuses on anti-vaccination sentiments, they have taken aim and attacked our valued staff in a manner that is deeply disrespectful, accusatory, humiliating and demoralising. Labelling this hospital, which has treated thousands of patients, Covid and non-Covid, as a 'gas chamber' and blatantly accusing our staff of killing patients is deeply disturbing and unacceptable," the board said in a statement.

Healthcare worker holds up a sign aimed at anti-va
A healthcare worker holds up a sign aimed at anti-Covid-19-vaccine protesters outside Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town on 21 August 2021.

It added that the group had no regard for the more than 1 000 personnel who were infected in the line of duty and the 20 staff members who died of Covid-19.

"While you do have a right to choose to vaccinate or not, your further utterances denying the existence of Covid-19 are a direct indictment on the very patients with Covid 19 we are caring for today. There are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters who are fighting for their lives while you dismiss their pain and suffering and label them."

The Western Cape government urged the public to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and to avoid falling ill and possible hospitalisation. It encouraged people to get information on Covid-19 and vaccines from "trusted and reliable sources".

Protesters meet outside Groote Schuur Hospital
Protesters meet outside Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town on 21 August 2021 to protest against mandatory vaccination.

"Vaccination remained voluntary and the provincial government had not changed its stance on this. Vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing severe Covid-19 illness. Doctors are already noting the major, positive impact that vaccines are having," provincial health spokesperson Mark van der Heever said.

"We encourage residents to get their information from trusted, reliable sources – if they are unsure, they should please speak to their local clinic or hospital to get more information about the vaccine. We encourage residents to please get their vaccines as soon as possible so we can save lives."

If you come across Covid-19 vaccination information that you do not trust, read Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here. If you can't find the facts you're looking for, email us at the address mentioned in the article and we will verify the information with medical professionals.

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