Unvaccinated healthcare workers rally for their jobs

SAN DIEGO — A rally was held Friday outside Rady Children’s Hospital for staff members as hospitals across the state are set to lose hundreds of its unvaccinated workforce due to the statewide vaccine mandate for health care workers,

The unvaccinated health care workers are resisting the statewide mandate to get fully vaccinated.

“It’s important because medical freedoms are important in society, freedom in general, it’s part of being an American,” nurse Alicia Fergoso said.

Rady Children’s Hospital received 201 requests for medical or religious exemptions that were denied.

“All the other hospitals in this area so far have granted exemptions,” Fergoso said. “Rady’s is the only one that has not at this time, so that says something.”

The hospital said it is basing its decision on the state’s order.

“Most current hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated persons,” the hospital stated. “The order noted that recent outbreaks in health care settings have frequently been traced to unvaccinated staff members.” 

However, unvaccinated healthcare workers said they can continue to provide patient care safely. 

“This is the bag that was provided by occupational health for me to test twice a week,” nurse April McMahon said. “This is my most recent consequence. Every week I tested twice a week for months and months before I would come to work, knowing that I am nevertheless COVID negative.”

The hospital says unvaccinated staff will have the option to work in a role that doesn’t include direct patient care or they can request a short-term leave of absence. 

Rady Children’s Hospital says approximately 75% of its patients are under the age of 12 and not eligible for the vaccine.

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