Groote Schuur Hospital board lambastes utterances by anti-vaxxers
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Cape Town - The Groote Schuur Hospital Facility Board has severely criticised a group of about 100 anti-vaccination activists who protested in front of the hospital on Saturday.
Between 100 and 150 people gathered outside the facility at about 11am, opposing Covid-19 vaccinations.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said the protest was peaceful and no incidents were reported.
“Police members were present and requested the group to disperse, upon which they dispersed about 2pm,” said Swartbooi.
The Groote Schuur Hospital Facility Board lambasted the disrespectful and attacking comments made towards its staff.
“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,” the board said in a statement.
“Labelling this hospital, which has treated thousands of patients, Covid-19 and non-Covid-19, a ‘gas chamber’ and blatantly accusing our staff of killing patients is deeply disturbing and unacceptable.”
It said the group had no regard for the more than 1 000 personnel who have infected with the virus and the 20 staff who had died because of the virus while working on the frontlines.
“Staff were not verbally abused during the protest, but it is really important to know that it comes at a time where staff are under significant strain. They weathered essentially 18 months of this pandemic; physically, psychologically, mentally, emotionally are at a low, and still in a peak of a third wave,” said Hospital board member Dr Zameer Brey.
“So this is not an easy time for staff, and these comments and utterances by this small group of individuals are hurtful, insensitive, disrespectful and really undermine the valiant efforts of not only Groote Schuur’s healthcare workers but all the healthcare workers across the system and what they’ve sacrificed and done for the community at large,” said Dr Brey.
Dr Brey said 246 patients were currently admitted with Covid-19 at the hospital, with almost four dozen people requiring ventilation and three dozen patients, high flow nasal oxygen.
“In addition, the utterances made by this group also appear reckless and insensitive to the patients who are lying in the hospital suffering with Covid-19 and the families of those patients, to claim that there is no such thing as Covid-19 and that this phenomena is not real.”