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Protests erupt after UR Medicine says it will require vaccine for healthcare workers

More than 100 people gathered outside Strong Memorial Hospital on Monday to protest a vaccine mandate for workers within the UR Medicine system.

The company announced that it would mandate its employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, or contend with weekly COVID testing. Among those facilities requiring it is Thompson Hospital operated in Canandaigua.

Protesters chanted ‘no more mandate’ and ‘our body, our choice’ while holding signs.

“We are going to keep doing this. We are going to keep going out and we will fight for the individual to get the vaccine, as long as they have true consent and they understand what’s happening,” Merle McDonald, an RN at Highland Hospital, told

She indicated that she isn’t opposed to getting the vaccine, but wants people to have a choice in the matter.

Other healthcare entities in the region have taken a similar position- requesting that employees get vaccinated- but not requiring it.

“We need to let Rochester know, we need to let the country know, we need to let the state know, that we are individuals with our own freedom,” McDonald added. “That’s what makes America great, we can all be here, you can have someone across the street that completely disagrees with us and we would all be marching and saying what we think and that’s what’s great about our country, that’s why so many people want to get here.”