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North Texas Health Care Workers Protest COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Three North Texas hospital systems are requiring all their workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19, and many health care workers don't agree with the idea of mandating the vaccine.

Late last month, Baylor Scott & White and Methodist Health System announced their workers will need to be vaccinated by Oct. 1, 2021, while Texas Health Resources said its mandate begins Sept. 10, 2021.

The requirements came as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to surge due to the recent emergence of the highly contagious delta variant.

However, health care workers are fighting back, arguing the COVID-19 vaccine should be a choice.

Dozens of nurses and health care workers gathered in front of Texas Health Harris Methodist hospital in downtown Fort Worth Saturday to protest the mandate.

"Regardless if you believe in the vaccine or not, it should never be mandated," nurse Keli Culver said.

"I'm not here to say you should get the vaccine or shouldn't get the vaccine. But that you should have a choice," ICU and NICU nurse Jennifer Cantu said. "... You're literally telling me to put a serum in my body that can harm me years down the road."

"We had an exemption for the flu vaccine called a philosophical exemption. That exemption was eliminated when they came out with these COVID vaccine mandates," said Lauren Hughes, a nurse who organized Saturday's rally.

Texas Health Resources issued a statement on the protest.

"As Americans, we are privileged to have the freedom of speech. As medical professionals, we have the responsibility to keep our patients safe. We understand that employees wish to share their opinions, but the science is indisputable. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective against the spread of the highly-contagious delta variant. Texas Health has in place an established process for employees seeking exemptions from, or needing accommodations to meet, our employee health requirements for medical or religious reasons."

Hughes said some of the health care workers that took part in Saturday's protest are vaccinated.

"The medical professionals in our hospital systems in DFW want our voices heard. We want our philosophical exemption returned to us," Hughes said.

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