Anti-vaxxers storm Toronto City Hall to protest ban on vaccine exemptions

Toronto Public Health passed a controversial motion at City Hall on Monday in favour of asking the province to mandate vaccinations for all Ontario school children, save for those who have valid medical reasons for being exempted.

The move is one of eight strategies proposed in a comprehensive report aimed at addressing growing rates of “vaccine hesitancy” — a phenomenon described by Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa as “the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines.”

Considered one of the top-ten threats to global health by the World Health Organization, vaccine hesitancy is estimated to affect some 20 per cent of parents in Canada.

You may know these people in a colloquial sense as “anti-vaxxers.”

The actions (or lack thereof) of such parents have been linked to rising rates of preventable infectious diseases, such as whooping cough and measles, in both the U.S. and Canada.

Dozens of them were out in full force (and matching t-shirts) at Toronto City Hall on Monday to weigh in on a discussion about ending philosophical and religious exemptions for vaccines in Ontario.

Local parents who don’t believe in vaccines (or believe that they could be harmful to children) have become incensed by the idea of mandatory inoculations.