Temple: Nurses protest Baylor Scott & White’s vaccine mandate

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 7:10 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - As health officials continue to push for more vaccines, dozens of nurses gathered outside Baylor Scott & White in Temple Saturday to protest the hospital’s vaccine mandate for all employees.

As it stands, all employees must be vaccinated by October 1, but nurses like Melissa Arnold are reluctant.

“We love taking care of our patients,” she said.

“It breaks our heart that we have to say we don’t want it, and you’re gonna fire me. It hurts to the soul.”

Since the vaccine has only been authorized for emergency use but not fully approved by the FDA, Arnold argues their jobs should not be at stake if they refuse to take it.

“It’s not an anti-vax or pro-vax stance, it is a right to choose what you put into your body,” she said.

“I’ve talked with a lot of my coworkers and it’s not that they don’t want the vaccine, they just want to wait a little while, and I think that we all deserve that freedom.”

Other nurses who came out in support like Stephanie Tomasek say they believe legal action may be necessary moving forward.

“Personally, I think they should,” she said.

“Again, this is going against a right. This vaccine isn’t FDA approved, so it’s not proven safe. If it’s not proven safe, you can’t make us put this in our bodies and to say you’re gonna threaten our jobs because of that... it’s not right.”

In a statement obtained by the Killeen Daily Herald, Baylor Scott & White Temple Chief Medical Officer Stephen Sibbitt says it was a difficult to make the decision to require staff to get COVID shots, but that they don’t want anyone on staff to transmit COVID to patients.

Regardless, Arnold says she will continue to push for her right to refuse taking the vaccine.

“Here we are just begging them and saying please... give us a choice!”

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