Over 1,000 vaccine needs protest outside St. Luke’s
Protesters gathered for the second time in as many weeks to oppose mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for staff at St. Luke’s, Saint Alphonsus and Primary Health.
MERIDIAN, Idaho – Protesters spread sidewalk to sidewalk outside St. Luke’s location in Meridian, near Eagle Road. An organizer of the protest estimated that up to 1,387 participants took part in the protest.
Some worked in the healthcare industry, others had family in the industry, and others just wanted to support. Everyone who gathered opposes St. Luke’s announcement that COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for their staff by September 1, 2021, as a condition of employment.
“They really try to provide high standard of care and I respect that, and I’m a proud doctor of this company,” said St. Luke’s doctor, Derrik Dauplaise. “We are working with people who have different opinions from ours and we will protect them.”
Dauplaise is one example of why protesters say this is not an anti-vaccine protest. What they are asking for is the ability to make a choice.
“If you want to keep your job, you have to go with your beliefs and get vaccinated. And I don’t agree with that,” RN Ken Bacus said. “The three main health organizations in the valley are coming together and making the same decision as well. It is not capitalism. It’s crony capitalism. Because there is nowhere to go. go to another. “
Idaho has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent days. The most recent data shows that Gem State has 123 people hospitalized for COVID-19. A week ago, 82 people were hospitalized.
KTVB contacted Saint-Luc and Saint-Alphonse to ask them if they see the impacts of this trend.
“While there does not appear to be a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in our emergency department, there is a slight increase in admissions of hospital patients with COVID,” Saint Alphonsus said in a statement. . in our communities in part because of the Delta mutant strain and unvaccinated patients. We continue to recommend that people get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families. “
Dr David Pate, retired CEO of St. Luke’s Health Systems, said the ubiquitous Delta variant could become the main strain of the virus. If this becomes a reality, healthcare workers will be needed more than ever.
“I would like to know how the health system plans if there are quits because of this,” Duaplaise said. “How are they going to handle this? And how is it safe for patients? How is it safe for the population? What would a five percent reduction in the workforce do for one of the health systems? “
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