Anti-vaccine protestors in Georgia have disrupted several mobile COVID-19 vaccination drives and caused one to shut down completely, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The office of Georgia Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey told the newspaper Monday that public health staff at vaccination drives "have been harassed, yelled at, threatened and demeaned by some of the very members of the public they were trying to help." At a press conference Monday, Toomey said they had also received hostile and harassing emails.
"This is wrong. This is absolutely wrong," Toomey said, according to the Macon Telegraph. "These people are giving their lives to help others. We should be thanking them for trying to get life-saving vaccines to our state."
The mobile vaccination event that was shut down was set to take place in north Georgia, where a group of protestors showed up to harass public health professionals, according to the Journal-Constitution.
Nancy Nydam, Toomey's spokeswoman, told the newspaper that "aside from feeling threatened themselves, staff realized no one would want to come to that location for a vaccination under those circumstances, so they packed up and left."
Toomey said the harassment "comes with the territory to someone in my position" but that "it shouldn't be happening to those nurses who are working to try to keep this state safe," according to the Journal-Constitution.
The confrontations in Georgia are the latest in a series of incidents in which anti-vaccine and anti-mask protestors have publicly harassed and berated health care workers.
A group of parents in Tennessee earlier this month surrounded health care professionals outside a school board meeting after they advocated for a mask mandate in local schools. And anti-mask protesters last week disrupted Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) back-to-school event, eventually following him back to his vehicle.
The reports also come as Georgia faces a COVID-19 surge, with a 35 percent increase in cases reported over the past 14 days, according to The New York Times.