Dozens of people, many health care workers from Cody and Powell, lined up on the curb across from Cody Regional Health on Wednesday morning to protest a federal vaccine mandate.

“We are nurses and healthcare workers, standing up for the patient right and the nursing ethic of autonomy and self governance in healthcare that’s an oath every nurse takes,” said Ken Lee, a Cody Regional Health nurse. “We’re not being given that same right.”

The ruling will deny Medicare and Medicaid payments to health care organizations where all staff and applicable contractors have not received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine by Dec. 4, or been approved for an exemption.

Last week, Cody Regional Health, which receives 70% of its revenue from Medicare and Medicaid, emailed staff to inform them of the deadline.

“It puts our hospital and its administration in a horrible spot, but Doug (CEO Doug McMillan) and our administration and board and board at the surgery center are all working very hard for us and we are working hard for them,” Lee said. “We’re supporting them as much as we can. We want people to call the governor, call their state senators and let them know of the specific problem healthcare workers face.”

Pat Dunks is one of a number of people who drove over from Powell for the protest. She's a lab tech at Powell Valley Healthcare.

“I should have a choice as a healthcare worker to chose whether I get the vaccine or not,” she said. “We’ve been able to put in the hours without being forced to take the vaccine. For me it’s just a belief we should have a choice.

“It’s not just nurses, it’s everybody from the people who clean the floors to those who are dealing directly with patients as well as the administration.”

(3) comments

Jim Guelde

As of this Saturday morning, Sleepy Joe and his diverse band of diverse merry pronouns have been stymied by the Fifth Circuit. Stay tuned for further developments.

Charles Johnson

Being vaccinated is just a basic requirement for someone working in healthcare. Patients who are immunocompromised should be able to receive care with out the worry of being infected by the nurses, janitors, techs, etc... who are working at the hospital. People have the right to choose whether or not they get the vaccine, but they don't have any right to be a healthcare worker... If they are willing to roll the dice with their patient's lives, maybe they should consider a different profession.

samantha dalton

Mandating a vaccination is stupid just so a person can keep their job. I see this as a pro-choice/pro-life type of situation. Every person should be able to choose what they put in their bodies, knowing the consequences, whether good or bad. All of the healthcare workers have been working as frontline workers since the beginning, and they know firsthand what COVID could or could not do to you. They should have the choice of whether they want to get a vaccine that does not keep them from getting the virus! Would you please post who we should contact so we can contact our Senetors and Govenor to help stop the mandate?

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