Peaceful Protests Held for Medical Freedom
MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – A two-part Peaceful Protest for Medical Freedom took place on Thursday at 2:00pm (with another one scheduled for 5:00pm) across from the Marshfield Clinic Health System campus.
Last week, Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) announced they are mandating that employees get the COVID-19 vaccine by November 15. Organized by staff and supporters, the protest was formed in response to this mandate.
Per official communication submitted to OnFocus, the COVID-19 vaccine will be required regardless of an employee’s role in the Health System, whether it’s patient-seeing or non-patient seeing, including employees who currently work remote. The requirement also pertains to contract employees, as well as vendors and individuals who volunteer for the organization.
“Bottom line, our decision to require all employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine was about serving our mission, and living up to our core values of trust and the health and wellbeing of patients,” said John Gardner, Director of Communications at MCHS. “While we understand a small number of individuals are in disagreement over the decision, implementing this policy at this time is the best way to protect the health and safety of our employees, patients, visitors and all who enter our facilities.”
“According to their website, ‘at Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS), our mission is enriching lives through accessible, affordable, compassionate health care,'” said Andrew, one of the protesters. “Their mission statement does not include forcing a vaccine.”
Other protesters said they are concerned about long-term side effects of the vaccine and whether they would receive support if they experienced any side effects from the mandated vaccine. Others said they are concerned about medical freedom and the precedents being set by the mandate.
As part of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, the preferred health insurance provider for MCHS has an incentive of $1.3 million to get BadgerCare+ members vaccinated.
Some employees held signs that said “Last year’s heroes, this year’s unemployed” and “Hero to Zero.” Other supporters had signs that said, “I stand for medical freedom,” “Coercion isn’t consent!” and “Freedom to Choose.”
“The number of COVID-19 positive patients in our hospitals has tripled since the start of July,” said Gardner. “Nearly all of them unvaccinated. Today in Marshfield, 100% of our hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.”
According to Gardner, on June 30, there were five patients at MCHS with COVID. There are currently 34 COVID patients in nine hospitals – Marshfield, Weston, Eau Claire, Minocqua, Rice Lake, Ladysmith, Beaver Dam, Neillsville and Park Falls. Twelve of the current patients are in Marshfield. On June 30, there was 1. The population of Wisconsin is approximately 5.822 million people and Marshfield Clinic is one of the largest health care providers in the northern region.
“This trend is not slowing down,” Gardner said. “The vaccine is the tool to stop the pandemic, and it’s essential we assure the community and our patients, families, visitors, providers and staff that we are providing them the safest environment we possibly can.”
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