A number of drivers honked their horns as they passed by a group of about 15 protesters who stood in front of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover on Friday afternoon.

They were there to protest the hospital's policy that all employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15 as a condition of their employment.

Wentworth-Douglass is part of Massachusetts General Hospital and in July, Mass General Brigham officials announced that it is requiring its 80,000 employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

"We're not against the vaccine, we just believe it should be a personal choice," said John Maro, one of the protesters on Friday.

Maro held a sign that said, "My body, my choice."

Photo by Kimberley Haas
Photo by Kimberley Haas

Protester Chad Badbury said people should not be making medical decisions for others, especially the health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.

"Health care workers, if anyone knows what's going on, and can see the inside of this event, it's health care workers. And if they have decided that it's not worth them endeavoring to get a vaccine, then they should be protected," Badbury said.

Photo by Kimberley Haas
Photo by Kimberley Haas

Some members of the group were part of a larger organization, NHPatriotHub.org, which was also holding an event in Concord on Friday.

A card said people can meet them at the Dover corner in front of Wentworth-Douglass on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m.

Adam Bagni, director of communications and community relations at the hospital, said he expects there to be more protesting in the coming weeks as the Oct. 15 deadline approaches. 

Bagni provided the following statement:

"The leadership at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, a member of the Mass General Brigham system, fully supports the requirement that all employees receive a complete series of COVID-19 vaccine by October 15, 2021, as a condition of employment.

For more than 115 years, Wentworth-Douglass has put our patients first in everything we do. When we protect ourselves, we protect those we care for, which is our core responsibility. Wentworth-Douglass strongly believes that this requirement aligns with our mission of patient-centered care and is part of our fundamental obligation to our Seacoast community.

The evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19 is overwhelming. We remain fully committed to supporting our employees by providing information about community vaccine locations and addressing concerns or questions about receiving the vaccine."

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com. 

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