WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Hundreds of people met Saturday outside a Delaware hospital to protest ChristianaCare’s decision to require employees to get COVID-19 vaccines or be dismissed.

More than 300 gathered at Christiana Hospital to protest the mandate, saying there isn’t enough information on vaccines, they doubt their effectiveness and their right to choose is being infringed upon, The News Journal of Wilmington reported.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has maintained COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

“Vaccines are created after years and years of research, and that is not the case with this one,” said Victoria Malin, a nurse at Christiana Hospital and a demonstrator.

ChristianaCare, the state’s largest health care system and largest private employer, keep defending their policy decision. All employees must receive the first dose of the vaccine by Sept. 21, or the health system with terminate workers who don’t unless given an exemption.

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“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and approved. They are not experimental,” the hospital said in a news release Saturday. “We know more about the safety of these vaccines than we’ve ever known about a vaccine so soon after it has become available.”

The hospital estimated in late June that about 70% of its employees had received at least one dose. Other hospitals in Delaware and elsewhere have announced employee vaccine requirements, including Nemours Children’s Health System on Friday.

Like other states, Delaware has seen a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. Delaware’s seven-day average of 165 new daily cases as of Friday is nearly three times the seven-day average two weeks ago, according to state health data.

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