Helena rally opposes vaccine mandate for health care workers

Phil Drake

Dozens of people stood Sunday on various corners of the intersection of Lyndale Avenue and Last Chance Gulch in a rally against a pending Dec. 5 vaccine mandate for health care workers.

“I’m not anti-vax, I am anti-mandate,” Dave Andres said as a steady stream of car horns sounded off as they passed by.

The 10-city “Rally for Medical Freedom” protest across Montana, organized by the Big Sky Liberty Alliance, was to include events in Billings, Bozeman, Glendive, Great Falls, Hamilton, Helena, Kalispell, Miles City, Missoula and Sidney.

The alliance is a private group on Facebook, but says “there are people in this group who are entirely against the jab itself, those who are on the fence, and those who are against mandated medical intervention.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) stated recently that all health care facilities must require vaccinations for their staff in order to continue receiving payments through the two federal programs.

The CMS rule gives health care facilities until Dec. 5 to get at least the first COVID-19 shot in employees’ arms, while also requiring that affected organizations have a plan in place by then to meet a Jan. 4 deadline. Existing vaccination exemptions for

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