Protestors demonstrate in response to COVID-19 vaccine mandates by area health care networks

MIAMISBURG — Hundreds of protestors gathered in front of Kettering Health’s Miamisburg headquarters, and later outside Premier Health’s Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton Wednesday in response to the health care networks’ announcement of mandatory COVID-19 for employees.

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The first protest at Kettering Health’s facility had an estimated 500 people gathered outside the network’s headquarters on Prestige Plaza in Miamisburg Wednesday morning. Protestors continued their demonstration and also moved along state Route 741 near the Dayton Mall, according to our crew on the scene.

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By Wednesday afternoon, a second protest had formed at Stewart and Main streets in Dayton, just blocks away from Miami Valley Hospital.

Wednesday’s protests are the latest in the area that’s in response to the mandates announced by three of the major hospital networks in the Miami Valley including Kettering Health, Premier Health, and Dayton Children’s.

>>RELATED: Premier Health, Kettering Health, Dayton Children’s to require COVID-19 vaccines for all employees

Colleen Marconett said she organized the protest on Facebook, but was surprised to see how it took off online. As of Tuesday night, more than 300 people said they were planning to go and over 1,200 people were interested in attending.

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“I was not expecting it to blow up like it did,” Marconett told News Center 7′s Molly Koweek.

“As a healthcare worker we’re giving the patients the right every day to choose what they’re allowed to do with their body and I feel like we’re entitled to do the same,” she said. “We’re fed up with being told what we can and cannot do with our bodies, what we can and cannot do anywhere really. It’s awful.”

Last week, Kettering Health set a deadline of Oct. 4 for the network’s employees, medical staff, students, volunteers, and vendors doing business in their buildings to be vaccinated. Premier Health also set a deadline of Dec. 1 for employees to be vaccinated and Dayton Children’s Hospital employees have until Oct. 1.

“We fully respect the right of individuals to assemble and peacefully protest, and we continue to have productive conversations with our colleagues as we navigate this next phase of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a Kettering Health spokesperson said in response to Wednesday’s protest.

Premier Health issued a similar statement Wednesday, saying they respect the right to protest peacefully but are committed to having additional conversations surrounding vaccination.

“We respect the rights of all individuals, including employees, to protest peacefully and in ways that do not disrupt or distract from the provision of quality patient care. Within Premier Health, we continue to have respectful conversations with each other about why vaccination against COVID-19 is vital to our delivery of quality care going forward,” the Premier Health spokesperson said.

Marconett added she’s concerned about what could come next but said she remains committed to helping her patients.

“My thing is, they’re goin to start here and what are they going to do next? You know what are they goin to push on.”

“I’ll let them walk me out of my job. I’m not goin to walk away from my patients. I’m not going to walk away from the career that I’ve had for over nine years, you know I love my job. I don’t want to quit. It’s not what I’m about here. I’m here for my patients.”

News Center 7 will update this story with new developments as they happen.