LOCAL NEWS

Protesters gather in Puyallup, Bellingham to speak out against vaccine mandate

Aug 11, 2021, 8:54 PM | Updated: Aug 12, 2021, 1:54 pm
Mother daughter nurse duo rally at an intersection in Puyallup on Wednesday. (KIRO Radio, Katharine Federer) Jayda Milsten, age 16, with grandma at an intersection in Puyallup on Wednesday. (KIRO Radio, Katharine Federer) Jeremy Lee, firefighter at an intersection in Puyallup on Wednesday. (KIRO Radio, Katharine Federer)
Protesters at an intersection in Puyallup on Wednesday. (KIRO Radio, Katharine Federer) Jerri Eby and Kene Windguard at an intersection in Puyallup on Wednesday. (KIRO Radio, Katharine Federer) Protesters at an intersection in Puyallup on Wednesday. (KIRO Radio, Katharine Federer) Protesters at an intersection in Puyallup on Wednesday. (KIRO Radio, Katharine Federer) Protesters at an intersection in Puyallup on Wednesday. (KIRO Radio, Katharine Federer)

A crowd estimated to be in the hundreds gathered at a Puyallup intersection Wednesday to protest the state mandate that health care workers get a COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 18, or lose their job.

Among the hundreds waving signs was Kyle Tautfest. He works as a security guard at Western State Psychiatric Hospital and expects to lose his job in October.

Bellingham nurse prepared to lose her job to stand up for constitutional rights

“They don’t have enough staff to handle the violent assaults out there and they’re going to try to fire us,” Tautfest said. “But a lot of people who don’t agree with it are going to quit, or they’re going to be fired with no unemployment.”

Also on Wednesday, about 300 people were gathered for a rally outside of Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham.

Besides Peace Health staff, locals came out to the rally to show their support for health care workers. They said the mandate violates workers’ rights — and some called it an especially bad idea during a health worker shortage.

“We need doctors and nurses — we don’t need less of them,” said Frank, a Bellingham resident. “Especially if they’re going to be fired for … something they choose not to do — that’s truly insane.”

Protesters argued that no one should be forced to choose between losing their job and having to take a vaccine.

“I don’t think that it should be required to put anything in your body,” added Chad, another Bellingham protester. “It shouldn’t be a requirement to eat an apple to work at any given job.”

One Washington State Department of Transportation worker from Skagit County, who would not give his name for fear of losing his job, had no connection to Peace Health, but he raced up to Bellingham as soon as he heard about the rally because he identifies with the nurses’ message. As a state worker, he is facing the same mandate.

“We have until October 18th to be fully vaccinated or lose our jobs,” he said.

When asked what he planned to do, he responded immediately: “Fight.”

“I have no intention of getting vaccinated, no. It violates my Constitutional right,” he said. “I shouldn’t be told or mandated to inject myself with anything.”

Peace Health stated that it aligns with Governor Inslee, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and other prominent groups in finding it necessary for all caregivers who are medically able to get the shot.

“With hundreds of millions of doses delivered in the U.S. and many months of real-world evidence to draw from, the vaccines have proved safe and effective,” the hospital stated, adding, “We support the right of individuals to express opinions in an unofficial capacity outside of work. Our priority remains the safety of our caregivers and those we serve.”

Overwhelmed by COVID-19: A day inside a Louisiana hospital

The FDA has given emergency use authorization to the coronavirus vaccines.

As of Aug. 10, the Washington State Department of Health reports that 70.7% of the eligible population in the state had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

KIRO Radio reporter Nicole Jennings contributed to this story.

Local News

snow...
Bill Kaczaraba

A dose of winter for Seattle-Tacoma-Everett region this week

The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area could see snow this week. The closer you get to the mountains, the more likely you'll see snow.
1 day ago
(KIRO 7 News)...
Deborah Horne, KIRO 7 News

Shooting and dramatic crash in Everett leaves one man dead

A shooting at a park in the North Sound ended in a dramatic accident about a quarter mile away — with the person in the driver’s seat dead.
1 day ago
Tacoma Mall road rage...
Jake Chapman, KIRO 7 News, Theresa Robinson, KIRO 7 News and KIRO 7 News Staff

Suspect arrested after 11-year-old injured in road rage shooting on I-5 near Tacoma Mall

Just after 9:30 p.m. Saturday, WSP announced that a 19-year-old suspect had been taken into custody in connection to the shooting.
2 days ago
9-year-old boy shot by 8-year-old brother in Federal Way - Photo by South Sound News....
Colleen West, KIRO 7 News

Federal Way gun owner charged after 8-year-old shoots 9-year-old brother in head

Charges were filed against a Federal Way man accused of leaving a gun on his bed, where it was found by his two younger brothers, and one boy shot the other boy in the head.
2 days ago
Photo from Everett PD...
MyNorthwest Staff

Man found dead in rolled over car after shooting in Everett

Everett Police are investigating after a man was shot and killed at a rollover collision Friday evening.
2 days ago
kent...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Kent starts fundraising campaign for election recount

The hotly contested race for Washington's 3rd Congressional District has been called for Democrat Marie Glusenkamp Perez, but Republican Challenger Joe Kent hasn't given up -- and now he's pushing for a recount.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Protesters gather in Puyallup, Bellingham to speak out against vaccine mandate