A crowd of around 60 people gathered outside a federal government building in downtown Yellowknife over the weekend to just say no to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
It was called a “freedom rally” and the people who attended are calling for the right not to be vaccinated.
“Yes I’ve been affected by the mandate through my workplace,” said one woman who went by Christy W. “So I’m currently on leave without pay… since December. I have till March 31 if I get the vaccine I’ll be able to go back to work.”
Christy W says “it’s a personal choice to get the shot” and she’s not getting it.
Similar rallies were held worldwide on Saturday.
Christy says she doesn’t feel like her job should rely on whether or not she’s gotten the shot.
“I feel like if most of my coworkers are vaccinated than how am I a dangerous threat to my workplace and to the people there,” she says. “If I choose to wear a mask all day and I choose to pay for a rapid test and I’m willing to do that. But I have no choice it’s the strictest hardest policy in my workplace.”
The government of Canada, the provinces and territories have been pushing people to get a vaccine shot ever since it started being offered to the public on Dec. 14, 2020.
“Evidence continues to show that being vaccinated with two or more doses of COVID-19 vaccines lowers the risk of hospital admission,” says the Public Health Agency of Canada. “As well, having a booster dose, of either PfizerBioNtech or Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, helps improve protection that may have decreased since the second dose and results in better protection against severe illness from Omicron in particular.”
According to Health Canada, more than 77 per cent of people in Canada have had two shot. The percentage drops to 41 per cent for people who have received a booster shot although data is not available from Quebec or Newfoundland and Labrador.
In the NWT, those who choose not to get vaccinated aren’t protected under the territory’s human rights act.
In the fall of 2021, some NWT businesses started requiring proof of vaccination in response to public heath orders which granted increased capacity limits with vaccination.
By November, the territorial government began requiring workers to provide proof of vaccination or be tested regularly and wear a mask.
“I have a three year old daughter in preschool and just before the holiday I was able to walk her to the door wearing a mask hand her over to the teacher,” says Christy W. “The teacher brings her in, undresses her, I don’t go in and now I’m not even allowed to walk her to the door wearing a mask.
“There’s no logic in me not being able to walk my daughter to the door when she’s with me 24/7.”
According to the territory, 77 per cent of people in the Northwest Territories are fully vaccinated while 84 per cent are partially vaccinated.
There are currently 982 active cases of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories – 14 people have died.
Across the country, there are 295,261 active cases and 32,597 people have died.