Several hundred demonstrators, some self-identified healthcare workers, gathered outside two California hospitals on Monday to protest the state's requirement that industry workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The protests, organized by America’s Healthcare Workers for Medical Freedom, follow the state Department of Public Health's announcement that workers in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, long-term care homes, and adjacent fields must be vaccinated by Sept. 30.
“It’s our body, our choice,” one protester, who appeared to be wearing scrubs, said at a rally outside the neighboring Children’s Hospital Orange County and Providence St. Josephs Hospital in Orange. "Everybody should have a right what we put inside of our body."
“I’ve risked my life for people that have had COVID over the last 18 months,” said another protester, who told KTLA he has worked in a hospital emergency room in Orange County for 12 years. “I’ve put up a fight for them, and I don’t have any desire to force anything on anybody else."
Workers who provide proof of a medical or religious exemption may bypass California's requirement but must provide a negative COVID-19 test twice per week if they work in acute healthcare and long-term care settings, or once weekly for those in other sectors, in lieu of the vaccine. Those workers also must wear a surgical-grade face mask at all times while inside facilities.
Public and private employers, including the federal government, have tightened masking and COVID-19 vaccination requirements among their workers in recent weeks as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns about increasing infections due to the coronavirus delta strain.
Objections to mandated vaccinations run the gambit, with some arguing the shots, all of which are currently approved for emergency use and still await full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, haven't been adequately tested. Other objectors assert they will rely on viral antibodies developed through natural infection.
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Original Author: Jeremy Beaman
Original Location: California healthcare workers protest state's vaccination mandate