SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Those who are against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care professionals made their voices heard once again Monday, this time at the State Capitol.
Demonstrators demanded state lawmakers reverse a decision they said violates their freedom of choice.
“We are dedicated to our jobs, and to have to choose one or the other and to be forced to be out of your career, it’s sad,” said Vivian Voochen.
Voochen has been a registered nurse for the last nine years. Her friend and fellow nurse Carly Rinaldi has been one for 18.
Both said it’s a tough job but one they love.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Rinaldi told FOX40. “To be part of somebody’s life in their worst moments and maybe make a difference is really why I go to work every day.”
Health care workers like Rinaldi said they worry people who have been working for years on the frontlines could lose their jobs if they defy the vaccine mandate.
“The mandate hurt my feelings and it made a hostile work environment,” Rinaldi said. “It makes extra added stress in an already stressful time.”
“My parents come from a communist country, my grandfather did time in a Nazi concentration camp,” she said. “I grew up understanding what it was like to not have the right to choose.”
Even though those at Monday’s rally worried about the potential for health care workers to lose their jobs, Sen. Richard Pan said there are many who agree with what the mandate is trying to do.
“The vast majority actually understand what it means to be a health care professional, which is to put your patients first. We have a virus that has killed more Americans in a little over a year than died in WWII,” Sen. Pan said. “We now have a safe and effective vaccine. So why would we not want to require people to take the steps they need to take, especially at a health care facility?”
However, veteran nurse Teresa Talbert said she thinks the vaccine is still too much of a risk.
“It’s very scary,” Talbert said. “I’m two years away from retirement. I’m very scared, but I will not take the vaccine.”
The organizers of Monday’s protest, Healthcare Professionals for Freedom, said they will be at the Capitol every day this week.