People rallied for medical choice near Flowers Hospital, again
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - People rallied with medical professionals against the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers under President Biden’s COVID plan.
The rally was at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21. Nearly 200 rally goers were there holding signs, as cars drove passed and honked in support of them.
News 4 spoke with two Flowers Hospital employees who say it is “unfair” for those who are not vaccinated to get involuntarily swabbed for COVID testing. They also added it is discriminatory because the hospitals routine of only testing those who are unvaccinated, disregarding vaccinated people can still carry the virus.
“I am not against the vaccines, I think if you are at high risk you should take it, but I think you should have a choice, absolutely have a choice, and this ‘Coercion is not consent,’ you know they are saying there are people losing their jobs, good workers, good workers, are losing their jobs and it’s sad,” Wendy Fellows, RN at Flowers Hospital, said.
Right now, there is no vaccine mandate at the hospital. The facility said they are waiting on guidance from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.
Health care workers who have worked at the hospital for decades said they are disappointed and simply want to have a choice.
“This is about a first step towards taking away rights that are going to go be down the line and if we don’t stand up now then no one is going to stand up,” Susan Athey, Cardiac Sonographer at Flowers Hospital, said.
“I love our administration too and I just wish they would stand up for us, we need it,” Fellows said.
Other rally goers agree.
“To me it should be a choice, you don’t have to do it, I was in the military to fight so we would have a choice, and then they are turning, coming in and saying now listen you don’t have a choice you got to do what we say,” Travis Parker, rally goer, said.
News 4 reached out Flowers Hospital for an interview, but they denied. The Hospital provided the statement below.
Full statement from Flowers Hospital:
“Flowers Hospital stands firm in its commitment to maintain a safe environment for our patients and caregivers, and we continue to require masking for everyone in our hospital and clinics. Majority of our caregivers already have chosen to be vaccinated and more are making that choice now. While we have not mandated the COVID-19 vaccine, we implemented routine COVID-19 testing of any unvaccinated hospital and clinic staff in September to ensure the safety of our patients, colleagues and others.
The CDC has advised that expanded testing of asymptomatic healthcare providers without known exposure could be a helpful measure for preventing the spread of the virus. Our COVID-19 testing program prioritizes unvaccinated individuals because they are considered to have a higher risk of contracting the virus. Research shows that unvaccinated individuals are at greater risk of contracting and becoming ill with COVID-19 and that their viral load is likely to be higher than that of vaccinated individuals.
Employees who do not comply with this routine testing are placed on unpaid leave. Our hospital, like others across the country, is waiting on guidance from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) about the implementation of President Biden’s order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers. We appreciate the cooperation of our employees during what is a challenging time for everyone in healthcare.”
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