DRAYTON -- A Drayton-area server says she was shortchanged on a tip from a customer after telling them she hadn't yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.

"I said, 'Once you're at your table, you can remove your masks,' and that's when he asked me if I was vaccinated, and it kind of threw me off a little bit," said server Brooke Rew.

She said there were no issues with the table through the service, but the customer left behind a note on the receipt, taking issue with Rew's answer about her vaccination status.

"He gave me something like four or five per cent and said he'd give me the rest when I was vaccinated," Rew explained.


She said she isn't against vaccines and plans to get immunized before she goes back to school, but hasn't yet had the time off to get it done.

"The fact that he's basing my tip off of the vaccination, not on the service provided, is really upsetting to me," Rew said.

Kelly Grindrod, a vaccine expert at the University of Waterloo's School of Pharmacy, said asking someone's vaccination status is awkward but shouldn't be taboo.

"We're in this awkward phase where we actually can ask people about that because we a trying to assess one another's risk," she said.

"On the one hand, your own personal health is very private," Grindrod continued. "But with an infection like COVID, if someone has COVID or they've chosen not to be protected against COVID, they actually put all the people around them at risk."

Grindrod said there is a specific place when asking the question is important: long-term care homes.

"People asking their health care provider if they are vaccinated, so we do hear a lot from family members who have loved ones or ones they care for in long-term care,” she said.

John Hirdes, a public health professor and senior care researcher at the University of Waterloo, agrees.

"We should be publicly reporting on the vaccination rates for staff in long-term care, that should be openly accessible information," he said.