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Patients' reactions mixed to nurses' protest over COVID vaccine mandates

'I don't know if it's a game or not'
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Posted at 4:33 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 20:58:48-04

When he's sick, 61-year-old Wayne Hensley puts his life in the hands of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare team in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. When he was in urgent care two months ago, he hoped everyone he was paying to treat him could prove they were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Now that St. Elizabeth — along with the region's five other major hospital systems — have announced they will require all staff to be inoculated against the virus, Hensley said he was shocked to hear some nurses are protesting the mandate.

"I don't know if it's a game or what," Hensley told WCPO Tuesday. "They need to get a shot."

A group of nurses has planned to protest the decision Tuesday outside the Northern Kentucky hospital's Edgewood campus. Their primary reason for resisting the vaccination, they said, is because none of the three available in the U.S. has received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

READ MORE: Hospitals, unions bargaining after vaccine mandate

"Why are we rushing this?" nurse Taylor Brenner said. "Why all of a sudden did every hospital in the Tri-State mandate this all in one day? It's just, it's scary."

National health officials have said they expect the FDA to give full approval status to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine later this summer or in early fall.

Still, Hensley remains convinced health care providers should get their shot.

"Everybody else is getting it," he said.

Patty Keith of Southgate, though, said she's not so concerned if her doctor or nurse isn't vaccinated.

"It does not matter to me," she said. "I already know they're wearing masks, their gloves, everything that they're wearing, that they have to wear already to take care of patients. So, I would be OK with that."

Cincinnati resident John Wabbington agreed with Keith but said he hopes hospital staff will at least consider getting their shots.

"I would just hope the people would actually think about it, think what's good for the patients themselves," he said.

The group of nurses planned to protest from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Edgewood.