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Anti-vaccine protesters followed, intimidated people at vaccine clinic, RCMP say

Protesters blocking access to COVID-19 clinics face fines, arrest under B.C. legislation
Cpl Jennifer Cooper
Prince George RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Cooper speaks to the media outside the Uda Dune Baiyoh House of Ancestors on Vancouver Street on Monday.

Prince George RCMP received reports of anti-vaccine protesters following and intimidating people accessing a vaccination clinic in Prince George on Monday, according to RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Cooper.

RCMP received complaints from members of the public that protesters were following people from their vehicles and shouting intimidating, anti-vaccine slogans, Cooper said.

Under the Access to Services (COVID-19) Act, which came into effect on Nov. 26, people blocking access to vaccination clinics could face $2,300 fines or arrest, Cooper said. However, arrests would be made only "as a last resort."

No fines were issued and no arrests were made on Monday, she said, but officers educated the protesters about the act. Under the legislation, it is illegal to protest within 20 metres of the entrance of a vaccination clinic in B.C.

So far, anti-vaccination protesters in Prince George have been peaceful, Cooper said. However, RCMP will be conducting patrols near vaccination clinics and if members of the public feel they are being blocked from accessing a clinic, they should call the police.

Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins said safety for the public and clinic staff is a top priority for the health authority.

“For children and families getting a vaccine, it can be intimidating enough without being followed or yelled at,” Collins said. “We are very appreciative of the presence of the RCMP.”