Demonstrators Protest New York’s Vaccine Mandate: I’m Moving to a Place that Respects ‘Bodily Autonomy’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: People participate in a rally and march against COVID-19 mandates on September 13, 2021 in New York City. President Joe Biden has supported and ordered mandates for federal workers as a growing movement has emerged of Americans against both the vaccine and the …
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Demonstrators gathered outside of the Rochester, New York, Strong Memorial Hospital to protest the state’s vaccine mandate applying to healthcare workers as the vaccination deadline arrived on Monday.

Standing outside the hospital, as they have throughout the month, protesters shouted, “we will not comply” and “my body, my choice”:

Hospital officials announced on Monday they had increased vaccination rates among staffers from 92 percent to 95.5 percent over the course of the last week, “meaning that less than 300 employees out of 16,000 will be fired if they don’t relent,” per the New York Times:

Kathleen Parrinello, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said some employees are “still very scared” and need “reassurance.” However, the mandates are prompting some state healthcare workers to vacate the state altogether.

“You know, we hear a lot about choice,” she said. “And of course, everyone has a right to choose to be vaccinated. However, those of us in the medical field, we know that vaccines are safe and we know they’re effective.”

According to 13WHAM, Mykola Babchuk, a respiratory therapist, plans to move to a red state if it comes to getting vaccinated or fired.

“I’m not too worried. If I get fired, I’m already planning on moving to Alabama,” Babchuk said.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 09: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about combatting the coronavirus pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House on September 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. As the Delta variant continues to spread around the United States, Biden outlined his administration's six point plan, including a requirement that all federal workers be vaccinated against Covid-19. Biden is also instructing the Department of Labor to draft a rule mandating that all businesses with 100 or more employees require their workers to get vaccinated or face weekly testing. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about combatting the coronavirus pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House on September 9, 2021, in Washington, DC. As the Delta variant continues to spread around the United States, Biden outlined his administration’s six-point plan, including a requirement that all federal workers be vaccinated against Covid-19. Biden is also instructing the Department of Labor to draft a rule mandating that all businesses with 100 or more employees require their workers to get vaccinated or face weekly testing. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“They respect my bodily autonomy, their governor protects me, and I have no worries there. With the amount of people that are supporting our autonomy there, I feel safe,” the healthcare worker added.

Indeed, unlike New York, Alabama does not have a statewide vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

“The whole thing makes me so sad and so hurt because I feel there’s so many excellent nurses that are losing their jobs because of a mandate,” Kris Brickle, a registered nurse of over two decades, said, according to Spectrum News. She said she personally “wanted time … to see how it [the vaccine] was going to play out.”

“I don’t think I can stay in health care,” Brickler added. “Honestly, I need to look for something else.”

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