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Group protests mandatory vaccines for Baptist Health employees

Officials with Baptist Health said nearly 65 to 70% of their 23,000 employees have been vaccinated.

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — Two days after Baptist Health announced plans to require all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, a group in Hardin County is protesting for what they call their "medical freedom."

Officials with Baptist Health said nearly 65 to 70% of their 23,000 employees have been vaccinated at this point. Monday, they announced plans to require their remaining unvaccinated employees get the vaccine.

One group opposing the mandate is protesting outside Baptist Health Hardin in Elizabethtown Wednesday morning. In a live video posted to Facebook, organizer Brittany Smith said the event supports people regardless of their decision on vaccines, saying they want everyone working at the hospital to stay with their patients.

Baptist Health officials have not released an official timeline, saying Monday they plan to release more information on their vaccination plan later this week.

In a statement, Baptist Health Hardin President and CEO Dennis Johnson said in part, "Our top priority at Baptist Health Hardin is the safety of our patients, their families, our physicians and our staff. While we respect the staff’s rights to express their opinions peacefully, we ultimately have the responsibility to protect the community members we are here to serve. Vaccinations reduce overall hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and death."

The company is not the only health care provider in the area that has announced plans for a mandate. Norton Healthcare also announced Monday its plans for a vaccine requirement.

Norton CEO Russell Cox said all employees, with allowance for religious and medical exemption, are required to have their first dose by Sept. 15. UofL Health announced a similar timeline for their employees earlier this year.

RELATED: Norton Healthcare, Baptist Health to require mandatory vaccinations for remaining staff

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