PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nurses who oppose mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 are organizing a Saturday afternoon rally in Vancouver.
The “Rally Against Mandatory Vaccination” is expected to begin at 4 p.m. at the intersection sidewalks of Mill Plain Boulevard and Chkalov and onto the I-205 overpass, organizers posted.
The rally comes in the wake of Peacehealth Southwest Medical Center requiring all caregivers to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
The healthcare center said all providers, students, contractors, vendors and volunteers will be required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or will have to submit a qualifying medical exemption by Aug. 31. Those who remain unvaccinated will instead get regular COVID-19 tests and be required to follow additional safety protocols, such as masking and potential reassignment so they are not near patients.
In Oregon, 1989 Oregon law makes it the only state in the country where it is illegal to require vaccinations. But Governor Kate Brown announced on Wednesday she is ordering health care workers statewide to get vaccinated or face weekly testing for COVID-19. Brown said she is directing the Oregon Health Authority to issue a new rule this week. Health care workers have until September 30 to show proof of vaccination or begin weekly testing then.
Although the number of vaccine breakthrough cases is increasing, they are very small when compared to the more than 2.3 million people in Oregon who are completely vaccinated.
“Our message today is simple and direct: the COVID-19 vaccine saves lives,” OHA senior health advisor Dr. Melissa Sutton said Friday.
KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.