WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A group of healthcare workers and supporters gathered under the sky bridge at United Regional hospital for a silent protest of the vaccination mandate recently issued by the hospital.

Healthcare workers like Jordan Lindsey said the right of consent in medical choices is what they are trying to get across in a silent protest held outside United Regional on Thursday.

“Natural immunity for the last 50 plus years has been considered the pinnacle of immunity, that’s what we try to emulate or mimic whenever we synthesize immunity through vaccination,” Lindsey said.

This comes weeks after the healthcare system announced a new policy requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by November first.

But some, like Lindsey and Derek Ruvalcaba said vaccinated and unvaccinated alike believe this is a choice that is being unfairly taken away from them.

“As healthcare workers, we’ve been taught through school, all through our careers that we are to advocate for our patients to give them the right to choose their healthcare, and now we are being told that we don’t have that choice,” Lindsey said.

“Just like patients have rights to receive care or refuse care, we also have those same rights,” Ruvalcaba said. “When we are going to get our vaccine we become a patient but in this situation, it seems as though our rights aren’t being listened to and observed because they are looking at us as an employee and not as a patient.”

Lindsey said some employees in various departments have already resigned or turned in their notices because of this mandate.

Ultimately, their hope is to be able to express their concern to the hospital’s board of directors.

“They’re the ones that are fiduciarily responsible for the running of this hospital and for our community, so if the care if going to be decreased by staff or services will be decreased because of lack of staff, it is their responsibility to ensure that that healthcare is going to be provided for our community,” Ruvalcaba said.

Ruvalcaba and Lindsey said they want to make it clear, they are not anti-vaxxers, nor are they misinformed; this is about the right of choice of medical care.

See United Regional’s full statement here:

United Regional’s passion is to provide excellence in health care for the communities we serve. Our decision to require all staff to be fully vaccinated is based on scientific data, thoughtful consideration and in-depth consultation with our medical staff leadership. The COVID vaccine is safe and effective and we stand by our decision. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including people living in our nine-county service area, have died because of COVID-19. Our goal in having a fully vaccinated health care system is to ensure that every patient, visitor and staff member is in the safest health care setting possible. We believe that it is our moral and ethical obligation to those who entrust us with their care.

Patrick Johnston, Marketing and Communications Coordinator with URHCS