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Workers resist mandate at Poconos vaccine manufacturer

Sanofi Pasteur is enforcing a vaccine mandate that may cost hundreds of people their jobs next month. The company is a vaccine manufacturer.

SWIFTWATER, Pa. — Angela Giaquinto has a choice to make. 

"Do I take it or do I keep my job? It's scary. I mean, we have families to provide for."

She's one of about 2,500 people employed at Sanofi Pasteur in Swiftwater. It's an international pharmaceutical company that makes vaccines, and is currently working on a COVID-19 vaccine. 

But a number of employees there are willing to lose their jobs rather than get the shot.

"I really just feel that people fear this one because of how quickly it was pushed on everybody," Giaquinto said.

"I do have vaccinations, from when I was a child. I'm not anti-vax. My children are vaccinated, but you're talking vaccinations who have been out for many, many years and had a lot of studying and research put down on them before being put out to the public," she continued.

Employees at the Poconos location were informed in November of last year, they had until the spring to get vaccinated or lose their jobs.

The company says it does not disclose site-specific vaccination rates, so it's unclear just how many people could be impacted by the mandate. But Giaquinto and other employees Newswatch 16 spoke to believe it's in the hundreds. 

"I'm really, really hoping that they reconsider things, realizing that there's a lot of good people that they're going to lose," Giaquinto said.

Some employees hoped with COVID-19 cases going down and restrictions easing, Sanofi would drop the mandate. The deadline is April 15. 

"And now that everything has calmed down, they're trying to enforce it. And the ones that you know, worked throughout this whole thing, now it doesn't mean anything," said Giaquinto.

A Sanofi spokesperson tells Newswatch 16: "While the trends are encouraging, we have all experienced the up and downs of this pandemic and the rise of variants.  Sanofi US continues to believe that vaccination is the right course of action."

Watch more stories about the coronavirus pandemic on WNEP’s YouTube page.  

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