Protest held against mandatory COVID-19 vaccines in Springfield, weeks after Mercy’s requirement announced

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 9:05 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A group gathered Friday at Park Central Square for a protest in opposition of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

The protest comes weeks after Mercy announced all current and future employees from its hospitals, including Springfield, would be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Co-workers must get the vaccine by the end of September.

Those protesting Friday say they are not telling people to not get vaccinated. But some are arguing that getting a vaccine not fully approved by the FDA should be up to each person, not their employer.

“My child received a vaccine the first day he was alive. So I am not an anti-vax person. I am an anti-mandate person,” said Britany Hartzell at the gathering. “We have constitutional rights. We feel those are being violated. We have to stand up and say something.”

“I’ve had COVID, and it is horrible. COVID is real,” said Hartzell. “But, a vaccine that is not FDA approved, we don’t know the long-term side effects. Those are the things that are making people uncomfortable.”

Mercy has hospitals and clinics in four states. It’s vice president said about 75% of the health system’s 40,000 workers are fully vaccinated. Workers who don’t follow the mandate could be fired.

The CDC says the vaccines met the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality.

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