Hundreds Gather Outside Arizona’s Capitol Building for Medical Freedom Rally

By Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.
September 27, 2021 Updated: September 27, 2021

Kimberly Jenkins, a critical care nurse at Banner Health Center in Phoenix, Arizona, knows she could be out of a job soon—unless she complies with her employer’s COVID-19 vaccine program by Nov 1.

That’s just not going to happen, said Jenkins, who is pinning her hopes on a religious exemption to the shot.

“If it’s denied, I won’t be working for Banner any more,” she told The Epoch Times.

Dressed in hospital scrubs, Jenkins and several other nurses in hospital garb stood outside Arizona’s Senate Building on Sept. 24 to protest against the mandatory vaccines.

“I don’t care how I get a paycheck [but] I have to take a step back for my own mental health,” said Jenkins, holding a sign with a drawing of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.

“It Appears To Be Mutating Into A Dictatorship,” the sign’s caption read.

Across the street from the Arizona Capitol, more than 1,000 people had gathered at a medical freedom rally sponsored by more than a dozen anti-COVID-19 vaccine organizations.

Among the sponsors were the Arizona Coalition for Medical Freedom, America’s Frontline Doctors, America’s Healthcare Workers for Medical Freedom, the Patriot Party of Arizona, and Arizona for Medical Freedom.

Jenkins, 41, shrugged when asked what she will do for work if and when she gets fired from her job.
“Other organizations are hiring in Arizona. The biggest problem is staff, and having to deal with the fact that we will lose a lot of nurses” over the vaccine mandates, Jenkins said.

Freedom Rally
Kimberly Jenkins, a critical care nurse in the Banner Health system in Phoenix, Arizona, holds a sign against mandatory COVID-19 vaccines during a medical freedom rally near the State Senate building on Sept. 24. (Allan Stein/Epoch Times)

“So, you now have new graduates working in high-security areas [in place of seasoned nurses]. We don’t have the staff to train new nurses.”

Since the Biden Administration announced vaccine mandates for federal employees and companies with 100 employees or more, health-care facilities across the country have suffered losses.

Earlier this month, Novant Health Inc. announced 375 staffers had been suspended for their noncompliance with the company’s COVID-19 program.

Meanwhile, Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, New York, this month shut down its maternity ward when dozens of employees chose to quit their jobs rather than take the injection.

And at Indiana University Health, 125 staffers resigned this month after they refused to get vaccinated.

While Jenkins said she isn’t sure how many nursing jobs are on the chopping block at her facility, “it’s enough to make a huge dent to do proper care.”

She said the standard of care in ICUs is three skilled nurses per patient. Now, it’s common to see two nurses for every critical care patient, she said.

“I don’t like it when science is ignored,” said another unvaccinated nurse at the Sep. 24 rally, who works at Common Spirit Health in Phoenix. “I’ve seen adverse [side effects] happen to co-workers of mine,” after they received the vaccine.

“The vaccine was completely rushed through. It was being rushed through even when we were in a pandemic state,” she told The Epoch Times.

The irony, she said, is that during the pandemic in 2020 “we were heroes. Now, we’re zeroes.” Regardless, she said, “I’m not quitting. I’m not worried about their timeline.”

Another registered nurse at the rally who also works at Common Spirit Health told The Epoch Times on condition of anonymity, “I wouldn’t say I’m fearful [about losing my job]. I would say it’s wrong what they’re doing.”

Allan Stein
Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.