WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Even on a rainy Sunday afternoon, a group of about 50 WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital employees and supporters gathered near the hospital to protest the hospital’s new vaccine mandate.

Hospital officials recently announced that all employees must be vaccinated or will be considered as “resigning” from their position.

Get vaccinated or you resign says WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital CEO

In response, a registered nurse at Wheeling Hospital, Stacy Castello, has created a petition on Change.org to stop the vaccination mandate at WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital.

Nurse at Wheeling Hospital creates petition to stop vaccination mandate

An official from WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital released the following statement from the Nurse Manager of the Med/Surg Pandemic Units:

“I have been the Nurse Manager of the Med/Surg Pandemic units since April 2020. This surge is different than what we experienced last winter. The patients are younger and much sicker. Almost all have been unvaccinated. They are scared and really struggling to breathe. Some say they just can’t fight anymore, so we help them and fight with them. We have them maxed out on oxygen and are trying our hardest to keep them from being on the ventilator. Almost all these patients have told us they wished they had listened and taken the vaccine. They range mostly between 20-60 years old and are fighting for their lives. My staff has seen too much suffering and death over the last 1.5 years. They are exhausted, but working hard to keep these patients alive. Mostly we are frustrated because this didn’t have to happen. Please get your vaccines, if you’re eligible, so we can put an end to this hell we’ve been working through and our patients are going through. Thank you.”

Cindy Polen, RN, BSN, Manager, Pandemic Units

More WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital News

7NEWS reporter Ashley Kaiser was at the protest and will have more coverage and input from the protestors online and on our 6 p.m. newscast.

Ashley Kaiser’s Facebook Live from the scene.

This is a developing story. Stay with 7NEWS and WTRF.com