A group of nurses and citizens gathered Friday morning at Northern Light Health AR Gould in Presque Isle to voice their opposition to the vaccine mandate handed down to all healthcare workers last week. The demonstration was organized by local citizens who wanted to support the healthcare workers who still have questions about requiring a vaccine that has less than a year of research on. 


 The scene was peaceful as the group sang patriotic songs such "This Land is Your Land" and others solicited honks of support as several motorists made sure to drive by the hospital on Academy Street. There were active nurses as well as a few retired nurses who were there to support their colleagues. Some of the people at the gathering were there to express opposition to the many decisions made by Governor Janet Mills, since the start of the pandemic.  


Most of those that are opposed to the vaccine mandate feel they are being forced to choose to continue their career or to move on. There are some healthcare workers who are approaching retirement age who are opposed to the mandate, as well as some who have young families that rely on the income to support them. Governor Mills mandated that all healthcare workers in Maine be vaccinated by October 1 of this year.  

What I witnessed this morning was a peaceful demonstration and there was no hostility within the crowd that gathered just after sunrise this morning. This is a debate and battle that is only beginning as the clock to the first of October continues to tick down towards the mandate. The group said that they are planning a similar demonstration next Friday near Cary Medical Center.

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