In what appears to be open defiance to an executive order issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, at least three hospitals in North Texas have imposed a mandatory vaccination among its healthcare facility workers.
However, not all hospital personnel seem amenable to the idea of requiring them to get vaccinated before deadlines set by the healthcare facilities.
Employees of Baylor Scott & White and Methodist Health System gave an Oct. 1 deadline for them to be vaccinated while inoculation among the Texas Health Resources staff starts on Sept. 10.
The decision of these healthcare facilities is an offshoot of a new surge of COVID-19 infections triggered by the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant.
But even with a mandate out for compliance, healthcare workers argued that vaccination is a matter of their personal choice as dozens of nurses and health care workers assembled in front of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in downtown Fort Worth Saturday to signify their dislike of the hospital-imposed policy.
“Regardless if you believe in the vaccine or not, it should never be mandated,” nurse Keli Culver said.
“I’m not here to say you should get the vaccine or shouldn’t get the vaccine. But you should have a choice. You’re literally telling me to put a serum in my body that can harm me years down the road,” ICU and NICU nurse Jennifer Cantu avered for her part.
“We had an exemption for the flu vaccine called a philosophical exemption. That exemption was eliminated when they came out with these COVID vaccine mandates,” noted protest organizer Lauren Hughes, who went on to claim that those who took part in the protest action were actually vaccinated already.
“The medical professionals in our hospital systems in DFW want our voices heard. We want our philosophical exemption returned to us,” Hughes said.
Responding to the protesters, Texas Health Resources, in a statement, said: “As Americans, we are privileged to have the freedom of speech. As medical professionals, we have the responsibility to keep our patients safe. We understand that employees wish to share their opinions, but the science is indisputable. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective against the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
“Texas Health has in place an established process for employees seeking exemptions from, or needing accommodations to meet, our employee health requirements for medical or religious reasons,” it added.