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Mask Protest: “For me, this was the hill I was prepared to die on”

Hundreds of people rallied at the Christiana Hospital after ChristianaCare announced a new policy requiring all employees to have their first COVID-19 vaccine shot by September 21, 2021-in order to continue their employment with ChristianaCare.

The announcement came on July 29, 2021 from Dr. Ken Silverstein, the Chief Physician executive of ChristianaCare. Silverstein said the decision didn’t come lightly. 

“We did not make the decision about our vaccination policy lightly. The immanent danger posed by the highly transmissible Delta Variant of COVID has tipped the scales in our effort to balance the personal freedom with the right to having a safe workplace.”

“Our decision-making is based on the science and facts about the vaccine.,” Silverstein added.

The protest got underway around 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning in the hopes to push back the mandate, but Silverstein said it’s about safety.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and approved. They are not experimental. Hundreds of millions of doses has been given across the country under the most intense scrutiny in medical history.” “We know more about the safety of these vaccines than we’ve ever known about a vaccine so soon after it has become available.”

By 9:30 a.m. the rally had reached an astounding number but within the hour, more than 300 people had gathered at the campus along Christiana-Stanton Road alongside the hospital’s entrance and began demonstrating. Some who participated in the rally were hospital employees, some of which wore scrubs and others were there to support them.

Tori Malin, a former employee of Christiana Hospital who organized the protest said they are not there protesting as anti-vax. She says she was a Patient Tech with the hospital and explains she put her two weeks notice in earlier last week in response to the mandate, but when she did, She said she was sent home Friday and told she would spend the rest of her two-week notice at home on paid time off. She said when she asked why, a manager told her they didn’t know.

“We are not standing here as an anti-vax. We are standing here against the mandate. No forced compliance to get the vaccine in order to keep your job,” said Malin.

Malin does not believe an employer has the right to demand workers be vaccinated.

“It’s not approved by the FDA, there’s not enough clinical trials or testing data on the side effects and the risks and adverse reactions,” she said. “I made a choice for myself and for my family not to be.”

Silverstein said it is approved and safe

“I kind of would have the power to take that power back from Christiana and leave on my own terms instead of being terminated. For me, this was the hill I was prepared to die on,” she said.

Many demonstrators carried anti-vax signs such as “My body my choice,” “I am informed. I do not consent” and “Say no to vaccine mandates.” Dozens wore T-shirts that said “Essential to Expendable.”

“First of all, it is not a vaccine, a vaccine means that when you get the shot, you do not get the, uh sickness again. If you get a Polio vaccine, you are not going to get polio. This is a shot, like the Flu shot is a shot, you can still get the flu, you can still get covid, and yet we do not know what this drug is going to do to our bodies.” Said Adriana Brown, a demonstrator. “We know nothing about this vaccine, It has not been out long enough, it has not been tested for us to know the safety of it.,”

The rally was noisy and many vehicles passing by showed their support by honking their horns including first responders.

Lee Murphy was at the protest to support the healthcare workers decision to not vaccinate. He said, “This is the United States of America, where we have freedom of choice.  We should all be safe, we should all be free from illness, but in America, we have a choice and I stand for Freedom, I stand for the constitution. These people here are true patriots and true Americans and I’m with them 100%.”

“COVID has shown more clearly than ever how we are all interconnected. Vaccination is the best way to protect each other.”

“The rapid COVID-19 resurgence that we are currently experiencing is the result of the virus spreading among unvaccinated people. This spread increases the likelihood of new mutations.”

ChristianaCare joins nearly 100 health care systems across the country in mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all employees. The hospital is giving employees six more weeks to comply with the mandate. They have until September 21 to get their first shots.

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