Dozens protest NCH vaccination mandate
The local healthcare system has become one of the first hospitals in Florida to require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Employees must be fully vaccinated by September 16, according to the mandate.
On Sunday, demonstrators covered all four corners of the intersection at Immokalee Road and Health Care Boulevard, which is right outside of NCH North Hospital.
Protestors came with signs and flags and were chanting in opposition to the vaccine mandate. One of the protestors said, “It’s a first amendment right. They have a right to decide. Our bodies, our choice.”
In response to today’s demonstration, NCH said in part, “NCH leads the region in implementing this policy in order to take steps to further safeguard the health and wellbeing of our staff and patients.”
The statement goes on to say that they’re seeing more young people getting sick and it has become an “unvaccinated pandemic.”
See the full statement below:
“The NCH Medical Executive Committee unanimously endorsed NCH Healthcare System’s new vaccination policy on Friday. NCH leads the region in implementing this policy in order to take steps to further safeguard the health and wellbeing of our staff and patients. The new COVID variants are much more transmittable and at least 5x more contagious than previous COVID variants. Over 90 percent of COVID inpatients are unvaccinated and 100 percent of ICU patients are unvaccinated. We are seeing younger people sicker and this has become an unvaccinated pandemic.
NCH is a leader in SWFL with this decision. However, we are seeing the vaccination support among large employers outside of healthcare like Google, Publix and Disney. NCH joins more than 75 health systems nationally who now require employees to be vaccinated. The Mayo Clinic is requiring all employees to be vaccinated by September 17.
Dr. Gregory Poland, MD, Director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group supports NCH’s new policy.
“For us as physicians, we take a pledge to protect and preserve the health of those who trust themselves to our care, and for that reason we require a variety of immunizations from our healthcare providers,” said Gregory Poland, MD, Director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. “The COVID vaccine is simply the latest vaccine required to protect the health of our patients and of the public. It is a duty we dare not shrink away from and the science is clear. The most important thing you can do to protect your health and well-being, that of your family, and that of your community is to get a vaccine. I support NCH and their commitment to keep their staff and community safe.”
Many of NCH’s healthcare workers have also stepped forward voicing their support for this vaccine policy which seeks to further safeguard the health and wellbeing of our patients and coworkers.
“As a critical care nurse during the outbreak and seeing what COVID does and can do to healthy people, I am 100% for the vaccine,” said Ellison Van Cleef Warner RN, BSN, Director of Physician Relations. “It was a personal decision, one that was not easy to make, especially while I was pregnant. However, I discussed it thoroughly with my OBGYN and my husband. We spent weeks researching and discussing the science behind the mRNA vaccine. When weighing the options, we believed that there were more severe risks to myself and the baby if I were to get COVID during my pregnancy. I did wait to get the vaccine once I was in the second trimester, and I did not have any reactions. I had a wonderful, healthy, and full-term pregnancy and today, both baby and I are great! I’m confident in my personal choice and I am happy I got the Moderna Vaccine to protect myself and others. I would love to know if my anti-bodies crossed, and that my healthy newborn is protected as well!”
Until vaccine requirements go into effect, NCH will continue to offer vaccine clinics to staff. If you or your loved one still need to get the vaccine, please visit the COVID Information page at NCHmd.org to schedule your appointment today, or stop by the NCH Vaccine Clinic at Eagleview located at 2450 Goodlette-Frank Rd N, Naples, FL 34103.”