There was a large and loud protest against vaccine mandates for health care workers in front of St. Charles Medical Center on Monday.
Nearly 200 people of all ages participated in the protest over mandatory COVID vaccines for health care providers.
They occupied all four corners at the intersection of Neff Road and Medical Center Drive.
“Regardless of whether or not I get the vaccination, that’s nobody else’s business but my own. My choice is my choice. It’s nobody else’s to make,” said event organizer Ellie Cornell. “We don’t deserve to be losing jobs because we are making choices for ourselves.”
Cornell says she has already decided to leave her job as a CNA in training rather than take a vaccine.
The Oregon Health Authority has set October 18th as the deadline for professional healthcare workers, staff and contractors who work in healthcare settings, including private homes where they provide direct patient care, to be fully vaccinated.
“I’m out fighting for constitutional rights. I will not give up my freedom to obtain my freedom,” said Liv Lifefull.
OHA says being fully vaccinated is critical for healthcare workers to prevent the spread of mutations of COVID, such as the delta variant, that now makes up more than 98 percent of positive COVID tests in Oregon.
“I recovered. I’m feeling fine. It’s a flu. Yeah. I had to lay down for a couple of days. I quarantined,” said Lisa, a protestor who only provided her first name.
“We aren’t being given other options other than a pharmaceutical agenda. We can be healthy without it. I respect everybody’s choice. If they want to take a vaccine. Great. My choice is to be as healthy as I possibly can and it’s not ok that were are being punished because we are healthy.”
“We have people who are going to lose jobs. If we lose jobs because of mandated vaccinations, we’ll end up with families that are homeless in Central Oregon. That’s a bigger issue for us,” said Susie Johnson, another protestor.
One protestor said she knows healthcare workers who are leaving the state to work as traveling nurses rather than take the vaccine.