GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ) — More employers, both public and private, are mandating vaccines for their workers now that the Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA.

Everyone working in hospitals and nursing homes in Maryland must have their first dose by Sept. 1 or submit to regular testing.

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Some have protested the vaccine requirement, including a demonstration at the University of Maryland-run hospital in Easton last week.

Laura, who asked that WJZ not use her last name, has worked for years in a hospital in Maryland. She is quitting her job over the mandate.

“Oh, it was so very hard. I debated it for several months because we knew this was going to come down the pipeline,” she told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “I was hurt. I was scared. I felt betrayed. Last year, we were heroes. Now, we just seem to be disposable, and it doesn’t seem like we have a choice in any of it despite any concerns that we may have.”

Laura said some nurses feel like they have been “demonized” over their decision not to get vaccinated.

“We’re being called selfish. I myself have a heart condition, which is why I do not want to get the vaccine,” she said. “It should be your right to choose what goes in your body.”

Dennis Schrader, secretary for the Maryland Department of Health, said that vaccinations among staff in nursing homes have risen 2 percent in the past week alone.

“If you do 2 percent a week for several weeks, we will get into the 90s pretty quickly,”  Schrader said. “Protecting people who are in vulnerable situations is our first responsibility. We are talking to hospitals about their approach — looking to collect data from them.  We are focused on the nursing homes because that is where our most vulnerable population is.”

Baltimore City is the latest public employer to mandate all workers get vaccinated.

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The city’s policy applies to all employees, whether full-time, seasonal, or contract. They must get vaccinated by Oct. 18 or get tested weekly.

This also includes all police officers and firefighters in the city.

“Ultimately, we wanted to provide our employees with the safest environment but in the most practical way,” said Baltimore City Administrator Christopher Shorter.

In a joint statement, police and fire unions said, “It is our desire to remain engaged in collective bargaining over the implementation of this policy.“

Shorter said the city is still in talks with the unions. He also said Baltimore is setting up 21 testing sites citywide to accommodate those employees who choose weekly testing.

The new mandate will affect almost 14,000 employees.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.