Chris McGregor got his second dose of COVID vaccine at a walk-in clinic at the NOTL Community Centre on Monday – but he wasn’t particularly happy about it.
“I feel like I’m being forced to do something I don’t want to do with my body,” he said.
McGregor said the strict travel rules in place requiring two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to fly have cornered him.
“I know I want to travel and I know that workplaces will eventually make you get them as well, just you watch,” he said.
In contrast, his wife, Tobi Bath, embraced the idea.
“We’re on totally different ends of the spectrum,” Bath laughed.
“I trust (vaccines),” she said after receiving her second dose of Pfizer.
The St. Catharines couple is now among the 63.7 per cent of fully vaccinated people in Niagara. Across the province as of Tuesday 64.67 per cent of eligible people were fully vaccinated.
McGregor said he feared the acceptance of forced vaccinations would enable more personal infringements in the future and he is against the implementation of vaccine passports.
“I think it’s absolutely craziness. I think this wouldn’t have happened 30 years ago, nobody would have put up with it,” he said.
“They’ll make you get even more vaccinations. They already did this, so why not? It’s crazy.”
Bath acknowledged that travel restrictions requiring full vaccination against COVID-19 do force people to get vaccinated, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing.
“I feel like it’s something we have to do unless you want to sit at home all day and do nothing," she said.
“It’s kind of like, you don’t want to get it but you do want to get it, you know?”
Bath got her first dose of Pfizer in May. She said she waited this long for her second dose so she could ensure she got Pfizer again.
McGregor only got his second dose due to the restrictions on travel. They have a trip to Cuba planned at the end of the month.
Bath and her daughter Syvonna McGregor are in the same nursing course at Niagara College. They will be doing a placement in a long-term care facility soon and Bath said mandatory vaccination for health care workers is essential.
“You are working with the more vulnerable, the more at-risk,” she said.
She also agreed with mandatory vaccinations for education workers.
“There could be children in your classroom or even adults. I’m a student, I want to feel protected going into a classroom, especially because I’m paying for my education right now,” she said.
“I don’t want to pay a ton of money to go to school and be unprotected.”
Bath said one of the most frustrating things about vaccination is the division it creates between people.
“I like talking to someone who's (respectful). We were having a group discussion in class and some people were getting so angry and upset because they didn’t like what someone else was saying,” she said.
“It’s like, you don’t have to get angry, you can have a civil conversation back and forth and respect somebody else’s opinion.”
Bath disagreed with the popular anti-vaccination argument that the vaccines were rushed and unsafe.
“They’ve technically been working on the SARS vaccine, which is the same as the COVID-19 vaccine, for years now,” she said.
“They just had to switch around the proteins. But they have been working on it.”
Niagara public health held the two day walk-in clinic at the community centre on Monday and Tuesday, but McGregor said it wasn't very busy when he was there.
“There was like four people (inside),” he told The Lake Report.
The two day clinic resulted in 160 doses administered. 50 were first doses and 110 were second, communications consultant for Niagara Region Public Health Meredith Maxwell said in an email.
Evan Saunders, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report