NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A group of healthcare workers participated in a protest against a Nashville hospital’s vaccine requirement.

Some employees at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West and their families decided to make their opinions known Saturday afternoon. The hospital is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by November 12, but protesters say employees should not be penalized because of their beliefs.

“With the vaccine mandate, it’s ‘I don’t get a choice’. I don’t get to say whether ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to what’s being injected into my body. I’m just losing my job after working with COVID for so many months or whatever without a vaccine, and it’s really taking away people’s medical freedom to be honest,” ICU nurse Geni Condon said.

Tennessee reports 48.2 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.

Ascension released the following statement regarding the protests outside Ascension Saint Thomas West:

We respect the right of our associates to peacefully voice their opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine in a manner that complies with our policies and shows respect for our patients, visitors, providers and other associates.   

We believe COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations across the country clearly demonstrates the urgency for everyone eligible to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones, our patients, providers, visitors, staff and the communities we are privileged to serve. 

We also know that serious illness and hospitalizations resulting from COVID-19 are largely preventable. The majority of people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 have been unvaccinated.