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Shreveport healthcare workers hold Saturday protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations

Coronavirus

A protest march opposing mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for health care workers was held Saturday morning down Youree Drive in the Broadmoor area of Shreveport. (Photo courtesy Katie Clark)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Around 100 people showed up Saturday at a protest in Shreveport against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers.

Participants in the protest, which began on Youree’ Drive and Ockley and went south on Youree Drive to A.C. Steere School, included health care workers in scrubs, along with their supporters and in some cases, children, who carried signs declaring coronavirus vaccines should be a choice, not a mandate.

Katie Clark, one of the protest’s organizers, said the protest was about freedom of choice, adding that protesters were not necessarily anti-vaccine, they just believe people should be able to exercise the freedom of choice on whether they receive the vaccine.

The Shreveport protest came just three days after a Lafayette district judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Ochsner healthcare workers who claimed the Louisiana Constitution gave them the right to refuse medical care.  

On July 26, the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations health care providers in all VA health facilities.

A month later, following full FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine, Ochsner Health Care announced a mandatory requirement that all its physicians, providers and employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 29.

Clark said the vaccine also is mandatory for health care workers at Shreveport’s Shrine Children’s Hospital, and Willis Knighton System is now asking employees to fill out a questionnaire regarding their status.

Other area hospitals have not made the vaccine mandatory for health care workers and employees, though Clark said Willis Knighton System is now asking a , though after the Pfizer vaccine received full authorization from the FDA in August, the hospital announced it was considering making them mandatory.

Clark said the well-attended protest, which was organized about a week-and-a-half ago, drew people from Ruston, Alexandria and even Lafayette.  

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