Roughly 70 protesters turned out to Beebe Hospital in Lewes over the weekend, declaring President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers unconstitutional and infringing on their rights, while creating a discriminating and hostile environment.
Several former or current health care workers turned out this weekend, voicing concerns of the vaccine mandate. Carol is a health care worker in Milford whose job was threatened because of her stance, but a recent Supreme Court ruling putting a halt to the mandate allows for her to work – for now.
“Our religious exemptions were supposed to be approved… by December 1 if they were approved or not and then when the mandate was halted now they’re saying they won’t approve them until December 15,” Carol says. “I don’t know exactly what that means but it’s kind of scary and I’m hearing lots of stories about religious exemptions being denied
Janice Day has been a Nurse for 40 years and was fired in September with several other health care workers at Christiana Health Care, where she and others worked to help those affected by COVID during the heart of the pandemic.
“For all these years of nursing I have advocated for my patient’s right to make choices for their healthcare yet I am not extended the same ability from the company that I worked for to make choices for my own personal healthcare,” Day, from Bear, says.
Unlike Carol, Day did not do a religious or medical exemption.
“I chose because of my rights as a human, as a person who lives in the United States of America, that I have rights to make decisions with what happens to my body.”
Day says she received a “Dear Caregiver” letter addressing her stance and that she would be terminated.
“I went to work the next day, and literally security and my manager were sitting in the dark behind a desk in the lobby, popped up when I walked and said that I…. voluntarily resigned, which I did not voluntarily resign, I was terminated. I then reached out to [human resources] for a letter of termination, they sent a document saying there would not be a termination letter with your name on it and that the “Dear Caregiver” letter is the one that works as your termination.”
Protesters say the mandate has caused discrimination and fear in what should be a healthy environment among hospitals. As for those working with a similar stance and working in fear of termination, protesters say it’s time to speak out.
“I believe at Bayhealth there is, from what I’m hearing, at least 840 of us that believe this way but the rest of them are scared because they think they are alone,” Carol says. “We’re also out here to let them know you’re not alone, we are here with you and stand.”
Of the several signs at the protest, one read “Last year hero’s this year zero – no mandates”. It was something several protesters said. Carol echoed the same concern.
“We were the heroes last year and now we are losing our jobs. How is that fair?”