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Protest rally held against COVID vaccine mandates

The group is calling on Gov. Kay Ivey to issue an executive order blocking the mandatory COVID-19 policies of a number of healthcare facilities.


An estimated 120 people, many of them healthcare professionals, protested corporate policies demanding that they receive the COVID-19 vaccine or be fired. The protest was held in Birmingham in front of St. Vincent’s Hospital, where the new Ascension Health management team has issued an order that all employees get the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of October or face termination.

Rebecca Rogers is the founder of the group Focus on America.

“We want the vaccination to be a choice,” Rogers said.

Rogers cited side effects from the vaccine.

“Wherever there is risk, there is a choice,” Rogers said. “These healthcare professionals were heroes when they were on the frontlines battling COVID-19, now they are going to be fired because they won’t take an experimental vaccine.”

Vaccination should never be a condition of employment,” Rogers said.

Rogers said that she wanted Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to issue an executive order banning vaccine mandates across the state.

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Rogers also cited SB267 the ban on vaccine passports passed by the Legislature during the 2021 Legislative Session.

“Steve Marshall should step up” and enforce SB267, Rogers said.

The largest hospital in the state is UAB, which is an arm of the University of Alabama system and effectively a state agency.

Rogers said that the governor has the authority to order UAB not to enforce any COVID-19 mandate.

While the legislation bans any requirement that customers or students get any vaccine not mandated before 2019, it did not get in between the employer-employee relationship.

Bethany Brasher works in the lab at St. Vincent’s

“It is not a vaccine,” Brasher said of the COVID-19 vaccine. “It is gene therapy. It should be your decision.”

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This is a myth that has been spread on social media. COVID vaccines are not gene therapy.

“I worked quarantine in the COVID units,” Brasher said. “They didn’t think about my safety then.”

Brasher said that she is asking for Ivey to issue an executive order blocking the mandates.

Two nurses asked not to be named.

“We have worked here for over five years,” they said. They will never get this vaccine and will not comply with any vaccine mandates.

APR asked them if they feared not being able to get another job in nursing or if they would have to leave the Birmingham area to find employment if terminated by Ascension health.

“No, every hospital is short-staffed now as it is,” the nurses said.

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They expressed the belief that if Ascension Health eliminated all of the employees who refuse to take the vaccine that the hospital would struggle to function, given that there is already a nursing shortage in Alabama.

One doctor who asked not to be named said that he is not vaccinated, “and will not ever get the vaccine.”

Even though his specialty was internal medicine, he volunteered to work the COVID units and has treated numerous COVID patients.

He blamed the high rate of COVID-19 deaths on a wait-and-see approach to COVID-19 treatment. He said that he has used hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and zinc early when COVID-19 is first diagnosed to prevent it from getting so bad that your having to put the patient on a ventilator.

NIH stresses the hydroxychloroquine does not benefit adults hospitalized with COVID-19 and the FDA has revoked the emergency use authorization to use hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19.

Ivermectin is a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms. It has failed in clinical trials to help people with the coronavirus. While sometimes given to humans in very small doses for head lice, scabies and other parasites, ivermectin is more commonly used in animals. A number of people are getting the drug from livestock supply centers, where it can come in highly concentrated — and dangerous — paste or liquid forms.

The doctor expressed concerns that getting ivermectin prescriptions is being interfered with because the CDC is trying to limit its availability.

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“Last month was the highest level of ivermectin prescriptions ever,” the doctor warned.

The FDA has also stated that Ivermectin should not be used to treat or prevent COVID-19.

The doctor explained that the COVID-19 vaccine is not like any other vaccine, because it is only one small part of the virus and not the larger RNA of the virus and that makes it easy for the virus to mutate into variants that are less responsive to the vaccine.

“They are blaming the spread of COVID on the unvaccinated,” the doctor said. “But the vaccinated can still get COVID. Most of them are getting it at a subtherapeutic level so they don’t even know they are infected, but they are still spreading the virus.”

Richard Rutledge said that his wife is a nurse, but has underlying health conditions that would make getting the vaccine risky.

“It would kill her,” Rutledge exclaimed. “We are trying to get a medical exemption, but so far we have not had any luck.

Both Richard and his wife have gotten COVID-19 already through her work as a hospital nurse so feel that they already have immunity that is stronger than the vaccine.

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Several members of the group expressed concerns that the Alabama health care system would not be able to give quality care if all of the healthcare professionals who won’t get the vaccine are let go this fall.

President Joe Biden has already issued an executive order that all staff at long-term care facilities receive the vaccine. Similarly, the Biden administration is ordering all of the Armed Forces to get vaccinated. The Veterans Health Care System has also ordered that all of its staff receive the vaccine.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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