SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Protestors stood at the corner of Youree and Ockley fighting for what they call “medical freedom” against the COVID-19 vaccination mandate at several hospitals around Louisiana, including Ochsner LSU Health Hospital in Shreveport.
“Medical freedom for nurses and for everyone, and no to the mandate,” said protestor Joyce Grigsby. “I’m here for freedom. I’m here for this country. I’m tired of just sitting at home and not doing anything about it.”
Grigsby added she will do whatever it takes to get “our freedom.” But, a health staff member, Susan Walker, said Saturday’s “No Vaccine Mandate” rally, wasn’t necessarily about “pro-shot or anti-shot.”
“If you want the shot, get it. And if you don’t you should be allowed the same right,” Walker said.
The organizer of it all – Sherri Detiveaus, said she works at a local hospital in Shreveport that mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for all employees.
“And I felt like it was my choice to take this vaccine or not,” Detiveaus said, adding she once had COVID. “They were not willing to give me a choice. It was either take the vaccine or lose your job. And I’ve decided to fight back.”
Dr. Martha Whyte with the Louisiana Department of Public Health said the point of the vaccine is to avoid being hospitalized and even death. Whyte, in fact, was at another city-wide event at Independence Stadium on Saturday where nurses from LSU Health Shreveport were administering free COVID-19 shots. Ironically, the same time the rally was taking place in Broadmoor.
“The second reason why we want you to get vaccinated is to develop that herd immunity for the community. To protect all of us so that we can get through this pandemic, and not face another surge every few weeks or few months,” Whyte said.
In Northwest Louisiana’s Region 7 about thirty-eight percent are fully vaccinated, Whyte said, while protestors are saying it is not the way to go.
But protesters say they’re not about to give up their fight against mandatory immunizations.
“We’re not going to stop. We’re coming back. We’re going to do it again, until they stop trying to force us to do things that we don’t want to do,” Detiveaus said.
Nonetheless, Whyte said she hopes the number continues to rise for those wanting to get vaccinated.
“Getting to the point where we feel more confident and people going out and being around each other and not being at such a high risk,” she said.
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