Protesters plan to gather outside the home of a local hospital leader to protest a decision to make them get the COVID-19 vaccine. A Facebook event called "Stop the mandate" says the protest will be for "forced vax victims."
The protest will be held outside of the home of Garren Colvin, the president and chief executive officer of St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Villa Hills, Kentucky.
Protesters have gathered outside St. Elizabeth's Edgewood campus in recent weeks, as well as other Cincinnati area hospitals, against vaccination requirements. But the planned protest outside the home of Colvin represents an escalation in tactics that mirrors what's happening nationally in the debate over masks and vaccines against the novel coronavirus.
Anti-vaccine protest will be 'peaceful,' organizers say
"It’s personal, when anyone forces anything on your body," said a Facebook post from We The People Kentucky, the organization behind the protest outside of Colvin's home.
A flyer for the event says the protest will be "peaceful" and advises that anyone who attends to stay on sidewalks, avoid private property and stay out of the streets. The demonstration is planned from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday.
St. Elizabeth isn't the only local hospital requiring the vaccine across the region. Trihealth, UC Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Christ Hospital Health Network leaders said Aug. 5 in a news conference that they would start their vaccine mandate by Oct. 1. Bon Secours Mercy Health and St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood said they would require the shot by early fall.
Courts and other regulators have ruled that employers can impose vaccine mandates.
Anti-vaccine, anti-mask protests across U.S. have turned ugly
Elsewhere in America, school board members, county commissioners, doctors and local leaders have been confronted at meetings and in public with angry taunts that compare them to the Taliban, Nazis, Marxists and the leaders of Japanese internment camps.
Across the country, anti-vaccine and anti-mask demonstrations are taking scary and violent turns, and educators, medical professionals and public figures have been stunned at the level at which they have been vilified for even stating their opinion. And they have been terrified over how far protesters will go in confronting leaders outside their homes and in their workplaces.
Since Hawaii announced a mandate earlier this month that state and county workers would have to show proof of vaccination or face weekly tests, 50 to 100 unmasked vaccine opponents have gathered almost nightly outside the downtown Honolulu condominium building where Lt. Gov. Josh Green lives with his wife and two children, ages 14 and 10.
Some yell into bullhorns and shine strobe lights into apartment units, Green said. Flyers with his photo and the words “Jew” and “fraud” have been plastered around the neighborhood. Green, who is Jewish, has been tearing them down and turning them over to the state attorney general’s office.
He understands the right to protest, but not why demonstrators subject bystanders to such rage.
“They should protest me at my place of work, where I’m the lieutenant governor,” Green said. “But it’s different than flashing a strobe light into a 90-year-old woman’s apartment or a strobe light into a family’s apartment, where they have two kids under age 4.”
Ironically, Green wasn’t home during a recent intense weekend of protests. He was on the Big Island working on his other job as an emergency room doctor and treating mostly COVID-19 patients during a record surge in coronavirus hospitalizations in the state.
“I will personally be taking care of these individuals in the hospital as their doctor when they get sick from refusing to wear masks and refusing to be vaccinated,” he said.
The pandemic rage has coincided with a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, a growing movement to require vaccines and a new round of mask requirements, most notably in schools where exhausted families had hoped the worst days of the virus were over. Now, the country is averaging nearly 1,000 coronavirus deaths a day.
As of Monday morning, 24 people have RSVP'd to the Facebook event promoting the "Stop the mandate" protest.