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Healthcare workers protest vaccine mandates in hospitals

Published: Aug. 28, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - On Saturday morning, healthcare workers and several supporters protested against hospitals and medical facilities requiring vaccines for their employees.

The crowd quickly grew early after protestors joined each other in prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

For them, it’s all about preserving their medical freedom.

“It’s about our choice, whether we want to get it or not,” said Kathy Proctor, who has been a nurse for over 40 years. “My girls have gotten it. My husband and I will not get it.”

Proctor says she’s willing to lose her job over the mandate.

“I will not be able to do that because I feel that strongly about what’s going into my body,” Proctor said.

Proctor claims that the debate over vaccinations is creating a rift in communities.

“It’s dividing families, it’s dividing friends, it’s dividing places of work,” Proctor said. “It’s turning, in the hospital setting, one nurse against another nurse.”

The rally was politically charged, with State Representative Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro), who is challenging Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) in the 1st District race, in attendance, alongside Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jan Morgan.

Morgan, who is challenging incumbent Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), spoke to the crowd at the protest’s kickoff.

“I came here from Jonesboro from the opposite end of the state,” Morgan said. “Got up at 4 a.m. left by 5 a.m. to be here to be here so that we could take a stand.”

The CDC says long-term side effects from the vaccine are “extremely unlikely”, but Morgan argues there’s a lack of knowledge on those side effects, which makes skipping the vaccine a valid choice for anyone.

“Nobody knows the long-term side effects,” Morgan said. “And that, in itself, is a large enough issue to give any American the right to hesitate and say, ‘you know, maybe I don’t want to do this.’”

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