Local healthcare workers protest vaccine mandates

Local News

CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) – Over 20 healthcare workers from the Johnstown area gathered Saturday, Sept. 18, to protest the vaccine mandates in their workplace.

The workers went on a nearly two-mile walk from Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center to Central Park. Half of the workers carried either a blowhorn or a sign to demonstrate the reasoning behind their cause.

Jami Butcher, a certified nurse aide, organized the protest within a three-week time frame. She got the word of using flyers and social media. Butcher said she started the protest because she wanted to bring awareness to this cause and have voices heard.

“I feel like my purpose on this planet now is to bring people together and unite them,” Butcher said. “That’s another reason why I’m doing this.”

The workers said that none of their employers have made it a requirement to get the vaccine so far. However, they are worried that it possibly can occur. Butcher thinks it’s unfair for an employer to force a vaccine that should be her choice to get. She held a poster that said ‘freedom of choice, stop the vaccine.’

“To force people to do it is basically medical tyranny,” Butcher said. “I don’t personally want to put it in my body or my child’s.”

Another healthcare worker in support of no vaccine mandates is Carol Keith, who is a registered nurse. She was happy to see other healthcare workers outside her place of work come and support the cause.

“I’m a nurse. I worked the entire time during the pandemic. We did not have a vaccine at the time,” Keith said. “We were called heroes then for of our efforts. Now, we’re zeroes because we’re refusing to get a vaccine.”

In August, the Wolf Administration issued an order that requires workers in state health care facilities and high-risk congregated care facilities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Otherwise, workers would have to subdue to weekly testing. Keith, along with the other workers, said they’ll continue to fight for no mandates.

“The hospitals feel that they have us by the throat because that’s our livelihood,” Keith said. “But I don’t think they understand that will dig in our feet and say ‘No, we’re not doing this.”

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