GREENWOOD, S.C. (WSPA) – Protesters will gather out front of Self Regional Healthcare Saturday morning following the hospitals latest employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The hospital says it’s an effort to create the safest possible environment, those in opposition say it’s a violation of American rights.
Self Regional Healthcare recently announced that like the flu vaccine, they’re mandating employees get vaccinated for the Coronavirus to continue their employment.
The hospital sent a statement to 7 News saying in part ‘We have an obligation to our patients, visitors, and to our fellow team members to create the safest possible environment at our facilities. ‘
Employees must be have their first shot by August 15th.
All other team members must be fully vaccinated by September 30, 2021.
Employees can opt out for medical and religious reasons.
But those exemption requests must be submit by August 30.
Luke Rankin is the Chairman for the Laurens County Republican Party.
He said several people have reached out to him with concerns regarding the mandate, so he’s planned a protest for Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in response.
“We feel that this is in violation of every American’s right,” Rankin said. “We have the freedom in America, we should anyway to choose whether or not we take the vaccine or not.”
But said he wants to make it clear this is not an anti-vaccine protest.
“A lot of people are trying to make it that way but it’s not,” Rankin explained. “This is a medical freedom protest. And so there’s a big difference there. I believe that if you want to take the vaccine that is your choice, but don’t force that on someone else who has a legitimate concern perhaps about the vaccine.”
Rankin said people with those concerns shouldn’t lose their jobs.
“In 2020, what did the world do? We celebrated healthcare workers who worked through the COVID-19 2020 era without the vaccine, and now in 2021 they’re being told that their jobs can be just erased just like that because they’re not taking the vaccine,” said Rankin. “That’s not right. That’s not the American way.”
Attorney John Reckenbeil said it is legal.
“Employers are going to be allowed to say that you have to have the vaccine to come back to work or you can go find another job,” he explained.
Reckenbeil said it comes down to state police power.
“The safety, health, and welfare is the most important thing that your government does,” Reckenbeil said. “And so the employer’s got the right to regulate the safety in their own business.”
He said you don’t’ have a constitutional right to infect other people, adding you have the constitutional right to privacy, but it is prompted by the compelling state interest of safety health and welfare.