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Dozens in Wallingford rally in support of unvaccinated healthcare workers

Friday at midday, several dozen people who work in the medical field, rallied in front of the Wallingford offices of the Connecticut Hospital Association.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Yale-New Haven Health, with five campuses across its system, is requiring all employees to be vaccinated or have a religious or medical exemption by the end of September or they could be fired. That is not sitting well with some unvaccinated employees.

Friday at midday, several dozen people who work in the medical field, rallied in front of the Wallingford offices of the Connecticut Hospital Association. They were pushing for a measure that resulted in all acute care hospitals in Connecticut requiring COVID-19 vaccines.

"We did so understanding that the vaccine is safe and effective, and it is most important way that we’re going to both stop the spread of Covid and protect our patients and colleagues in our hospitals," said Paul Kidwell, a senior vice president of CHA.  

Some in attendance accepted they could be terminated.  

"I feel more comfortable waiting until we have more long-term data before I put something into my body that’s a risk," said Pete Marini, an unvaccinated nurse for St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

"You need to do a lot of research before you get this vaccine and then you need to make your choice based on that research," said Peter Konieczka, an unvaccinated nurse employed by Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Due to a religious exemption, his employment is safe, for now. 

"I am able to keep my job for this year," Konieczka said. "I have to reapply for a religious exemption every single year."

One nurse says she left Yale-New Haven Hospital recently because she saw this mandate coming. So, she works for private practice.

"And at my place of employment right now we do not mandate the shot," said Jenna Corso. "It is not mandated as we (her employer) don’t believe anything should be mandated that hasn’t been out of the market for a minimum of 3 to 5 years."

"The number one reason for this (mandate) is the protection of the patients," said Kidwell.

Another rally will be held at Hartford Hospital on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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