TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A demonstration took place Wednesday evening, near Banner Health, on Campbell Avenue and East Elm Street. Those who attended the rally were protesting the vaccine mandate.
More than 200 people showed up, among them a nurse who is serving the Tucson community.
“If I’m forced to, I will walk,” Angela told KGUN9.
Angela did not feel comfortable giving her last name. She says she’s been a nurse in this community for 12 years and has done ER nursing for seven years. Angela feels it’s only right for hospitals to give their employees a choice when it comes to getting the vaccine.
“This is not the payment that you give to these nurses and healthcare staff who have worked in the trenches this entire time,” she added.
Stephanie Welch, who is not a healthcare worker, agrees.
“I think it's terrible. I think they've done us a great justice by serving our community last year when we were in the pandemic....and I think for them to suffer the consequences of losing their jobs, because they're afraid to get vaccinated, is criminal,” Welch told KGUN9.
Many healthcare workers at the protest expressed they would walk if they were forced to choose between getting the vaccine, or losing their job. Richard Abbott is one of them.
“I am not getting the vaccine. If I can get some sort of exemption, I will do that. If I can’t get it, I will have to seek employment elsewhere,” said Abbott.
“It’s not just Banner anymore. It’s TMC. It’s CVA. 68% of TMC employees did not get vaccinated, and over 50% of Banner had not been vaccinated. If you take a percentage of that and they get fired, come the deadline that they hospitals have set, it’s going to be detrimental to our healthcare system,” added Angela.
Banner health also providing a statement to KGUN9:
"We are committed to providing a safe environment for our team members and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we know that vaccination is the single most effective way to do this. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and extremely effective, and we encourage all our team members and the community to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Banner’s vaccination requirement for its employees is just one more way we are demonstrating our commitment to safety. Exemptions will be considered in accordance with federal and state laws."
Banner employees are required to be vaccinated by November 1st.