Unvaccinated feel ‘threatened’, MP for Peterborough-Kawartha tells Medical Officer of Health

People who don’t want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 feel ‘attacked’ and ‘threatened’, Michelle Ferreri told the Medical Officer of Health on Friday – and although she said she wouldn’t tolerate it, Dr Thomas Piggott was unwavering in urging people to receive the jab.

Piggott was Ferreri’s guest in a Facebook Live chat on Friday and she said it drives unvaccinated people “even crazier” to be told they are harming others.

“It’s like you’re either with me or against me,” Ferreri said.

“But we won’t get through this pandemic until we’ve vaccinated – or almost – everyone,” Piggott said.

“Until then, people who choose not to get vaccinated are actually choosing to harm those around them. And as far as I can certainly understand, and I don’t think we need more polarization and division…we have people making a choice that can potentially harm those around them.

Ferreri, a former host of CHEX-TV (now Global Peterborough) frequently posts live videos to her Facebook account.

On Friday, Piggott joined her via Zoom for a candid conversation that highlighted their different points of view.

While Piggott has strongly promoted vaccination since her debut as the new medical officer of health on December 1, Ferreri has previously said she felt ashamed to receive a second dose of the vaccine in September as she campaigned for the position and that she thinks people should have a free choice in the matter.

Friday, she did not hesitate.

“I think encouraging people to get vaccinated is really great, but I think saying, ‘If you don’t get it, you’re the problem’ – I think that fuels the fight in the neighborhood,” a- she told Piggott.

“I feel like both sides don’t feel heard, and when people don’t feel heard, they get stronger.”

“I think we have to be careful talking about both sides, right?” Piggott replied, “Over 90% of Ontarians have been vaccinated. There is mostly one side, isn’t there? So if that’s what you’re talking about, I think we have to be careful with the framing.

During the conversation, the chat function was open and received over 600 comments – the vast majority from anti-vaxxers.

“I see a lot of comments here and I see you guys,” Ferreri told These Posts.

Later, Ferreri mentioned that mRNA vaccines weren’t developed “overnight” — and she knew that from her studies (she has degrees in anthropology and biology from Trent University, according to university website).

“I went to school for genetic engineering, biotechnology and PCR testing. So, you know, mRNA technology has been around for a very long time,” she said.

Yet later she asked Piggott what public health officials might have to gain by urging people to take a vaccine “that doesn’t work.”

“I am a very critical thinker. Why?” she asked.

Piggott replied that he’s not asking people to take a vaccine that doesn’t work — he’s trying to help people stay healthy.

“I’m a doctor. I went to school for many years to help people – to save people – and to help improve people’s lives,” he said.

Piggott added that the people spreading misinformation about COVID-19 are the ones with something to gain.

“A lot of times they’re selling their own therapy or cure, and they’re trying to get you to buy a product and they have a business interest,” he said.

While Piggott said people should look for credible information in places like government websites, Ferreri said at the end of the interview that she still wants “both sides” to work together.

With her “experience in science and mRNA vaccines,” Ferreri said, she can “support” the research that resulted in the COVID vaccination.

“But I can’t stand pitting people against each other either,” she said. “I’m not behind this. I really do not know.