DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Protesters armed with “It’s my constitutional right to say no to the vaccine” and “Let me call my own shot” worked to make their voices heard Wednesday afternoon following Kettering Health, Dayton Children’s, and Premier Health announcing vaccine requirements for all employees.
The protests began outside Kettering Health’s administrative offices at 10 a.m., with over 200 people showing up. “We’ve been through a lot mentally and physically these past two years,” said Cassandra Younker, a respiratory therapist.
Wearing a “My body, My Choice” shirt, Younker was overcome with emotion about the new mask mandates. “Who chooses to get the vaccine, that’s their choice. I believe I have medical rights to make decisions for my health. Everybody should have that right.”
A written statement released by Kettering Health said:
“We fully respect the right of individuals to assemble and peacefully protest, and we continue to have productive conversations with our colleagues as we navigate this next phase of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Following the Kettering Health protest, many people headed over to protest on the corner of South Main Street and West Stewart Street, near Miami Valley Hospital, a partner of Premier Health.
“The foundation of nursing is the right to make a medical decision. The frontlines, like nurses, should have the right to be able to make their medical decision,” said nurse and protester Tara Barrett.
Barrett has been a nurse for 16-years and fears these mandates will cost her job. “We’re making medical — educated medical choices. We’ve been crying, and we’ve been coming to work anyway knowing that you’re going to fire me anyway in the end if I do not comply.
Premier Health also releasing a statement saying:
“Premier Health remains committed to safeguarding the health of our patients, visitors, providers, and staff. In response to the Ohio Hospital Association’s recommendation, Premier Health and its medical staff will adopt policies requiring all medical staff and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 1, 2021.
Science and the collective experience of nearly 170 million U.S. residents who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have shown again and again that vaccination is our best tool to prevent the spread of disease, as well as to ensure the health and well-being of our hospital workforce and the communities that we serve.”Premier Health
At Kettering Health, all employees must have both COVID-19 vaccinations by October 4, while Premier Health employees are required to be fully vaccinated by December 1.