PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) – Demonstrators opposed to Gov. Janet Mills’ newly announced vaccine mandate for health care workers rallied outside Maine Medical Center in Portland Saturday.
Some in attendance argued they’re being deprived their freedom of choice but others in the medical field say the move provides support for health care workers.
“My wife is possibly losing her job on the first, you know what I mean? If she doesn’t, we’ve got five weeks to make a decision,” said one rallier who identified himself only as Tom.
Tom, from Sabattus, says he fears his wife, who works for MaineHealth, might face some form of “retaliation” for opposing vaccine mandates.
“They’ve been dealing with this for the last 18 months. If anyone should know what’s happening, wouldn’t it be them?” Tom asked.
In her announcement mandating vaccination by Oct. 1, Mills said the mandate protects health care workers and vulnerable patients, a point echoed Saturday by the Maine Nurse Practitioner Association.
“Gov. Mills’ mandate provides universal support for all Maine health care workers- for their safety, the safety of their families, their community and all Maine citizens who are not yet able to be vaccinated and therefore has MNPA’s full support,” said Constance W. Jordan, President-elect of the Maine Nurse Practitioner Association.
“The aggressive move for vaccination requirements in Maine will be critical in keeping Maine’s communities, including the most vulnerable, safe,” Jordan added.
“I believe that we have the right to choose what goes in our body,” said Susan Randall.
Randall, of Portland, says she was inspired to participate after receiving an invitation from the group Maine Stands Up, a conservative-leaning advocacy group.
“We’re standing in support with the Maine Medical Center health care workers who believe that we should have the freedom of choice,” Randall said.
On Facebook, Maine Stands Up is also encouraging attendance for similar rallies in Bangor Sunday and Augusta on Tuesday.
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