Even before the Watson Clinic announced last week that it would require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November, a local group had planned a rally to oppose vaccine mandates.

“No blanket mandate” is the message from Lindsey Grych, a nurse practitioner and founder of the Polk chapter of Moms for America. The group formed in June with the intent to plan its first rally, which took place last Friday in downtown Lakeland, Grych said.

Grych, who works at a local clinic, said she and chapter member Nicole Murphy, a family nurse practitioner, organized the rally two to three weeks before the clinic’s announcement.

“This was not just about Watson Clinic but for workers in general to be able to choose to have body autonomy,” Grych said. Employees should not have to fear for their jobs because they don’t want to become vaccinated, she said.

“I’m not against vaccination, I got my vaccination but I don’t feel people should be forced,” Grych, 30, told The Ledger. “I feel very deeply, deeply motivated that everybody should get to make health care choices based on their personal comfort level and medical history.” 

The group’s Friday demonstration in Munn Park and along Florida Avenue downtown drew about 120 supporters, she said. A second rally is planned for Sept. 18.

Protesters along Florida Avenue Friday night | Cheryl Moore

Posted to YouTube by Praying Patriots 2020:

As an example of somebody opposing blanket mandates, Grych cites the case of a young, healthy man with a family history of an autoimmune illness. This person would be at risk to develop adverse symptoms after getting one of the vaccines she said, referring to CDC information about instances of men ages 12-29 experiencing heart inflammation following mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations.

Attorney Kemp Brinson of Winter Haven, who specializes in employment law, said while it is legal for Watson Clinic to require a vaccination mandate, they must make reasonable accommodations. One way for an employee to get an exemption is to qualify with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Brinson said.

Another accommodation allowance could be for employees with sincerely held religious beliefs covered under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he said.

Grych said her organization is open to possible legal action by “searching legal options through the County Citizens Defending Freedom Polk County,” a Mulberry-based organization founded in March.

The Citizens Defending Freedom organization is seeking Watson Clinic employees “being forced the vaccine,” Grych posted on Facebook Sunday evening.

Moms for America Polk continues to move its mission beyond a website to a call for action, whether it’s a rally or through social media. In addition to the planned Sept. 18 downtown rally, Grych said a petition drive is being promoted through a local Facebook group, Health Care Freedom for Health Care Workers

The petition has received more than 1,000 signatures so far.

At Watson Clinic, 52% of staff had not been not vaccinated as of last week, Grych said.

Brinson said there are few cases to come from challenges to the legal right of a company to impose vaccination mandates and he doesn’t see a trend or tendency for that to change.

“If employers looking at the mandate decide not to do it, it has to do more with morale and management issues,” Brinson said. “Employers can’t afford to lose a small percentage of the workforce.”

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  1. Can you say willfully misguided? What’s most disturbing about this is the Grych and Murphy are NURSES!
    PS: The signs in the photo of the demonstration are chock full of misinformation. Shame on them all!

    1. By your comment, you are inferring that because they are NURSES!, they should comply with a medication/vaccine that has not completed its trials….trials slated to be completed 2022. Then we will have accurate safety data. I also assume you did not really read the signs? Did you? Many signs are just against mandates and do not shoot down the vaccine altogether.

      It seems you commented on this post in hast and now sound just plan ignorant. Grych, APRN is not a nurse but rather a well educated practicing nurse practitioner. I find it interesting how the public, because they have access to Google and Facebook, somehow magically know what’s best for everyone. Its like me telling you to have a mastectomy and if you don’t you’re an idiot. You do not need a mastectomy and Im not telling the possible side effects. Just show up and let’s do the procedure without any informed consent. It may do you good or it may not? But who knows let’s do it anyways. And let’s have it mandated to you by a non-medical professional.

      What ever cleaver rebuttal you come up with will easily be dismantled and likely solidify my point. I have looked at this argument 10 ways to Sunday. So I would proofread it a few times before submitting.

  2. if employees refuse to vaccinate, companies have the freedom to release them from employment. they have the freedom to find another job that does not require them to be vaccinated.

  3. Please note that when you go to Watson Clinic they check your temp and aske several questions. I see employees come and go freely without benefit of this process. In reality, a nurse could come to work with a fever, be infected and pass it along to a patient or staff without ever being identified. Thanks dangerous and just bad medicine…

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