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Hospital employees demonstrate against mandatory vaccinations

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 8:33 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Some employees of WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center-opposed to a vaccine mandate-demonstrated outside the hospital late Monday afternoon.

The group is opposed to a recently-announced requirement that all employees of the WVU Health System be fully vaccinated by the end of October.

But a group of nurses say the requirement goes against their personal rights.

“The hospital is pulling all nursing staff from different areas of the hospital and sending them to the floors, mostly Covid units,” Registered Nurse Karyn Johnson said in a statement prior to the protest. “While we are all willing to help, we consider it unsafe practice to send OB nurses, surgery nurses and office nurses to the floor to function as RN’s. They gave us a one day training on using the computer to chart as a floor nurse. While we are not sure what they will have us to do yet, they showed us the charting and told us if we had trouble, we could ask for help!

Again, we are willing to help to do what we can. However, as nurses who have not passed meds or hung IV’s in years, we feel it would not be optimal patient care. Again let me say, not sure they are going to have us work in that standard yet, but they gave us a class and lead us to believe that we will be.

These things go against our Nurses Code of Ethics that we attested to as we became nurses.” At the site, Johnson said the vaccine is a series of unknown chemicals-and says they’re willing to lose their jobs to make their point.

“We’re still in a trial period; we are still test subjects,” she said. “We don’t want to be test subjects. We want to take care of our patients. We took care of them last time and we were heroes; this time, we’re losing our jobs, because we’re not going to take that vaccine.”

A hospital spokesman issued this statement in response to the protest.

“We respect people’s rights to express their feelings and opinions on this topic, but a public health crisis demands a public health response. Our providers are on the frontlines caring for the people in this community; we cannot have them sidelined due to COVID as doing so jeopardizes patient care.

We currently have 39 employees quarantining at home; 23 of them are not fully vaccinated. The FDA-approved vaccine, which hundreds of millions of Americans have received, is safe and effective. WVU Medicine Camden Clark is currently caring for 79 COVID-positive patients 67 of which are unvaccinated and 17 are in ICU care, many requiring increased oxygen flow at this time.

The situation is taxing to our physical infrastructure and has required the stabilization of our oxygen supply and the need to obtain supplemental oxygen to meet the increased demand of our patients. We stand behind the data which supports vaccination as the best solution to minimize the spread of this virus.”

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