Ronald McDonald’s home is rejecting claims that he is evicting families after implementing new vaccination requirements.
Earlier this week, families housed in 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 describing the new politics.
The letter stated that anyone over the age of five living or visiting the home must have received at least one dose of 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 those children who are here with compromised immune systems,” said Ronald McDonald’s spokeswoman Shannon Kidd in an interview with CTV News Vancouver.
However, politics did not go too well with a Kelowna man.
Austin Furgason, an unvaccinated resident whose four-year-old son is undergoing treatment for leukemia, posted a video of himself confronting a member of the staff of the house on Facebook.
“That’s kind of crazy bad,” Furgason can be heard saying in the video.
Furgason went on to write a lengthy post stating that they were being evicted. His posts went viral after being picked up by various American media outlets.
“I think it’s important to make it clear that we’re not going to evict families based on their vaccination status,” Kidd said. “If there are families who decide not to comply with the new policy, we would work with our local external team to offer them alternative accommodation.”
Another father of a child undergoing cancer treatment told CTV News that the new policy caught him and his wife off guard.
“It was a little shocking, for sure,” Brian Blakely said.
Since then, her five-year-old son Andrew has received a doctor’s exemption, which will allow him to remain in RMH until he goes into remission.
Blakely and his wife are vaccinated, but the new term will force him to stay in Okanagan with his eight-year-old daughter, who is currently unvaccinated.
He says he believes RMH could have found a better way to notify families of the new rules, but remains grateful for all they offer.
“Everyone has to calm down and remember who this is all about,” Blakely said. “It’s about the kids.”
Kidd says RMH acknowledges that his approach could have been better.
“We’ve definitely heard the comments on how the communication was handled and we’ll take that into account in the future,” he said.