LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Some health care workers from across Acadiana held a protest against mandated vaccines in Lafayette Sunday afternoon.

They say taking the vaccine should be a choice, not a requirement.

As more and more hospitals across Acadiana are requiring their health care workers to get the vaccine, more employees are speaking out against the mandate.

The protesters say they’re fighting for their freedom of choice.

“Not all health care workers are on board with what’s currently happening. It’s basically about our rights, about our freedom. If they can mandate this, then what can they not mandate?” health care worker Monique Gary asked.

“I don’t believe the government should tell you what to do,” protester Nelson Rivero added.

Many health care workers chose to keep their faces covered with their signs at the protest.

They tell News Ten they fear they’ll be terminated for protesting the vaccine mandate at the hospitals they work for.

“We do have a right to accept or refuse medical treatment. Even if we’re a nurse, we still have that right because once we’re looking at a medical treatment, we then become the patient. We’re taught our whole lives to advocate for patients, so we expect the same courtesy to be extended to us,” Monique Gary added.

Many people say they attended the protest to support their health care workers.

“My problem with what’s going on now is this is turning into a tyranny. It’s turning into hospital administration tyranny making the doctors and nurses get the dirty vax,” protester Charles Middleton said.

“I think we should stand up in numbers. We should exercise our God-given rights, and they should not be forcing things upon us that we don’t want to do,” John Stevens, another protester, told News 10.

“I don’t believe in the mask. I don’t believe in the shot. I don’t believe there’s a cure for this COVID-19 because a virus will mutate. There’s no way you’re going to make a cure for it,” Nelson Rivero added.

Many protesters say they aren’t anti-vaccine. They say just want more research and information on it before they’re forced to put it in their bodies.

“I’m all about the freedom to choose more than anything else and freedom of choice. Then we’ll take our next steps,” protester Elizabeth Scott said.

Ochsner Health and Our Lady of Lourdes are two of the hospitals in Acadiana that have mandated vaccines for their health care workers.

Hospital officials say their employees have until the end of the year to get fully vaccinated or they will face termination.