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Some health care workers plan to protest vaccine mandates in Green Bay

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 10:30 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Some health care workers are planning to protest in Green Bay, Manitowoc, and Madison this week against vaccine requirements by their employers.

They say it’s about choice. Hospitals say they need to protect patients.

“It’s not political by any means, but I feel like we need to able to make our own informed choices ,and right now I don’t think we’re able to do that until this vaccine has been out a few years,” Jeanette Deschene said.

Eleven health care systems in the state require employee vaccinations, including Advocate Aurora Health and Prevea Health.

Deschene said she’s a financial advocate at Aurora in Manitowoc who is currently working remotely.

Aurora is requiring that all employees be vaccinated by October 15, yet she’s counting on the state senate to take up Assembly Bill 25, which would forbid employer vaccine mandates. It passed the assembly back in March, but stalled in the senate.

“My hope is that the bill gets passed, but if it gets held up in the senate that might not make it to our deadline of October 15. And so, we’re all sticking it out as long as we can. Our group is large, we have 11,000 people in the group and we’re not backing down,” Deschene said.

In a statement provided to WBAY, Aurora said it respects an employee’s rights to peaceful protest. You can find a copy of the health system’s full statement below.

There will be a demonstration Wednesday in front of St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and one on Friday at Aurora in Manitowoc/Two Rivers from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The protest in Madison will be at James Madison Park.

According to the majority of health experts, vaccines are safe, effective and prevent serious illness and death from Covid-19.

“Essentially this is nothing new because we’ve had flu vaccines and employers who have required flu vaccines forever,” Nola Hitchcock Cross of the Cross Law Firm in Milwaukee said.

“The law requires that if someone has a protected disability that precludes them from getting this vaccination, the employee and the employer engage in interactive process to see if there’s something else that can be done to prevent the spread,” Nicole Marklein, a lawyer at Cross Jenks Mercer and Maffei LLP in Baraboo, said.

What about those who say the vaccines aren’t approved by the Food and Drug administration thus businesses can’t require them?

“There are no additional rights conferred on an employee based on the FDA status of the vaccination,” Marklein said.

Here is a copy of Advocate Aurora Health’s full statement:

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