Durham, Caroline du Nord – Protesters travel across the state from hospital to hospital to rally against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for Health care workers.
Nearly 100 people were outside Duke University Hospital today in Durham, as new COVID-19 cases hit their highest totals in months.
While many Health care In recent months, workers have been advocating for people to get vaccinated, today at Duke University Hospital people are refusing to do so.
They push back the now mandatory job requirement.
Plus who came forward to protest were concerned members of the community, friends and family of Health care workers, rather than the health workers themselves.
Friday’s protest was a stormy day of chants and signs about the vaccines being carried in the crowds outside the hospital.
WRAL News spoke to the protesters.
One said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared theories, rather than facts, about the virus.
Another woman, who said her husband was a registered nurse at the hospital, said her husband “hasn’t seen good things coming out of the vaccine so far”.
“It’s bodily autonomy to decide for yourself what goes in and out of your body,” she said, “and what happens to her only seems to go so far when it comes to a political agenda. “
Asked about the many tests and efficacy data for vaccines, the woman questioned the scope of the tests and the level of efficacy of the vaccines.
Despite science, some in the medical field do not trust the vaccine. Andrew Mitchell’s concerns come from experience.
Andrew Mitchell, a surgical technician at the hospital, had adhesive tape capsulitis – also known as frozen shoulder – after receiving the vaccine. The condition is associated with improper administration of the vaccine.
He acknowledged that these types of reactions are “extremely rare”. More he adds, everyone should be able to decide for themselves.
But another hospital operated and encountered protesters who called the protest dangerous.
” I work here! And you put me in danger! He shouted.
“I think that’s absurd,” the man told WRAL. “I think these people are absolutely crazy to do this, especially at the entrance of a hospital. “
Katie Galbraith, acting community health chief and president of Duke Regional Hospital, said the rise in the delta variant of the virus was prompting the hospital to take action.
“It’s really about the safety of our team members, the safety of our patients,” said Galbraith.
As for those who oppose the requirement for a vaccine, Galbraith said she understands their concerns.
“And I would like to share and get our clinicians to share some of the information we have about the safety of this vaccine’s effectiveness,” she said.
The deadline for getting vaccinated is September 21 at 10 a.m. A Duke official said he didn’t want employees to quit, but if they don’t comply, they will be fired.
Mitchell said many hospital workers opposed to getting the vaccine are afraid to protest for fear of the repercussions.
“I think they should have that decision available to them as well,” Mitchell said, “without finding themselves in a position where you have a hard time supporting your family or you have a deadline to get vaccinated when you might feel very upset. “
Duke Health is one of a handful of large healthcare systems with a mandatory vaccination policy as the Delta variant continues to spread.
A hospital spokesperson told WRAL on Friday that about 77% of employees have received the vaccine so far, a slight increase from 75% earlier in the week.
Similar protests are unfolding in front of hospitals across the state in the coming weeks. Protesters also gathered outside Cone Health in Greensboro on Thursday.
Starting Friday, masks will be required on the Duke University campus and in all other buildings the university owns or rents. North Carolina reported 3,268 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the highest single-day total in five months.