Evelyn Pyburn with the Big Sky Business Journal reported that nearly 1,000 Montanans across the state rallied against the federal vaccine mandate targeting healthcare workers on Sunday.

The rallies were started by 5 healthcare workers in Billings, and quickly spread to several cities across the state. One of the organizers is Billings nurse Corinne Hammond.

She joined us on the Montana Talks radio show, and says the rallies were even bigger than she imagined when planning first started.

Corinne Hammond: We just saw a need for support. There's a fair amount of shaming and bullying going on in some of the hospitals in reference to the people that are choosing to still not get the vaccines. And many of the people that are against it are just staying quiet because of what's happening. And so we saw a need for support. So we started the Facebook group, and we saw people- as the official mandates rolled out- we saw a lot of people really wanting to rally and just kind of come together in a place in person.  And so we held a couple of gatherings, and then we we planned this rally. And we had some different point people in different towns that had reached out to us and they wanted to do their own rally simultaneously with Billings, and it just blossomed into 10 different towns across Montana...We're estimating about 1000 people total were at all the rallies all across the state- over 200 in Billings and a ton were in Missoula. I think about 200 in Missoula, about 100 in Bozeman, 80 in the smaller towns like Glendive Sidney, Miles City- which is amazing for the smaller populations.

Forcing employees to take the COVID vaccine is against the law in Montana, and the federal CMS mandate targeting healthcare workers is facing a challenge in federal court. That legal effort is being led by Montana's Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R-MT). Knudsen joined other Attorneys General across the country in successfully halting the federal OSHA vaccine mandate.

TV report from KTVQ's Mitch Lagge:

 

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