Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House says it’s not evicting families over vaccination policy

Ronald McDonald House is pushing back against allegations that it is evicting families after implementing new vaccination requirements.

Earlier this week, families staying at the 73-bedroom Vancouver facility, which offers them a place to live while their children receive treatment at BC Children’s Hospital, received a letter outlining the new policy.

The letter said anyone over the age of five who lived in or visited the house should have received at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of the month.

“The goal of the vaccination policy is to ensure that we can provide the safest possible environment for the children who are here with compromised immune systems,” Ronald McDonald House spokeswoman Shannon Kidd said in a statement. interview with CTV News Vancouver.

However, the policy was not well received by a Kelowna man.

Unvaccinated resident Austin Furgason, whose four-year-old son is undergoing treatment for leukemia, posted a video of himself confronting a staff member at the house on Facebook.

“It’s kind of crazy evil,” Furgason can be heard saying in the video.

Furgason then wrote a lengthy message claiming they were kicked out. His posts went viral after being picked up by several US media outlets.

“I think it’s important to set the record straight that we won’t evict families based on their vaccination status,” Kidd said. “If there are families who choose not to comply with the new policy, we will work with our local external team to offer them alternative accommodation.”

Another father of a child undergoing cancer treatment told CTV News the new policy caught him and his wife off guard.

“It was a bit shocking, of course,” Brian Blakely said.

Her five-year-old son Andrew has since received a medical exemption, which will allow him to remain at RMH until he goes into remission.

Blakely and his wife are both vaccinated, but the new mandate will require him to stay in the Okanagan with his eight-year-old daughter, who is currently unvaccinated.

He says he thinks RMH could have found a better way to let families know about the new rules, but remains grateful for all they offer.

“Everyone needs to calm down and remember who this is,” Blakely said. “It’s about the children.”

Kidd says RMH agrees their approach could have been better.

“We have certainly heard the comments on how communication has been handled and will take them into account in the future,” she said.

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