The protest saw people marching from Freedom Park to the Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte to protest the decision. Participants at the rally include a large group of Atrium employees, as well as anti-mask and anti-vaccine protesters.
Atrium Health, one of Charlotte’s largest healthcare systems with more than 70,000 employees, recently announced that all staff must be fully immunized against COVID-19 by October 31 in order to protect themselves and to protect others in the face of increasing cases of the Delta variant in the state and across the country.
Novant Health also said it will require all of its staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID by September 15.
Those with an approved religious or medical exemption will not be required to get the vaccine.
On Sunday, protesters could be seen holding signs reading ‘my body, my choice’ with at least one person also holding a Nazi swastika during the march against Atrium Health’s new coronavirus vaccination policy.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about choice,” nurse Cheryl Morneau told WBTV.
” It is a right. People have died for our rights. It is not good to take this freedom away from us, we are also people. We have sacrificed ourselves on the front line for over a year. Why don’t we have the same rights as everyone and as our patients do? “
Another Atrium Health employee at the protest, who wished to remain anonymous, said she decided not to get the vaccine for now because she is pregnant and breastfeeding.
“As a breastfeeding mother, this mandate concerns me,” she said. “The safety of all current COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding people, the effects of vaccination on a breastfed baby, and the effects on milk production or excretion have not been studied. Neither I nor my colleagues should be forced to be part of a clinical trial without our explicit informed consent, which gives us the right to choose. “
Jane Nymberg, a registered nurse who has worked for Atrium for 25 years, said she considered quitting her job if she was forced to get the vaccine.
“I won’t have to take an experimental vaccine that could potentially injure or kill me. The chances of this happening are low. But if that happens, I will be responsible for it, ”she told the WSOC.
The protest took place peacefully, with no reports of disturbances or arrests arising from the protest.
Atrium Health said that requiring its employees to be vaccinated against COVID should not be viewed any differently than requiring staff to be vaccinated against the flu every year, or ensuring that they are vaccinated against other infectious diseases, such as measles or chickenpox.
In a statement to local media regarding the planned event, Atrium Health said, “Atrium Health has a long history of protecting the health of our patients, teammates and the communities we serve.
“With the new, more contagious variants now leading to an increase in hospitalizations in our region, we are demanding that our teammates be vaccinated against the virus – to avoid catching it or passing it on to others in our hospitals or others. clinical environments.
“Most doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are drawn to their profession because they want to help and care for other people, especially to help them get well, stay healthy and live longer. longer and healthier. The new COVID-19 vaccine requirement is designed to do just that, as science shows COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and continue to save countless lives.
“We greatly appreciate all of our teammates who have shown such dedication to our patients, their loved ones and to each other during the pandemic, and we respect the rights of those who have chosen to have their voices heard peacefully. and civil. Open communication is something we embrace at Atrium Health.
“We encourage our teammates to share any concerns they may have directly with their leaders if they have questions about our immunization requirements. “