Allegheny County workers had until midnight to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.By Jennifer Borrasso

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A small protest was held outside Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s home on Wednesday.

Protesters gathered in the evening as the vaccine deadline for employees closed in. Allegheny County workers had until midnight to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or face losing their jobs.

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It was a peaceful protest on Wednesday in Squirrel Hill. Shane Chesher, a county employee in the Parks Department, hoped Fitzgerald would talk to him, but that did not happen.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

County police watched over the protest organized by Chesher, who refused the vaccine on religious grounds. At a hearing on Wednesday morning, he was told he would be fired at midnight.

“Rich, honestly, I don’t understand. You are hurting people’s livelihood right before Christmas. Your sick, demented plan worked,” Chesher said.

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At one point, things got heated when a neighbor walked over to the protestors.

Neighbor: As a community, we all need to be vaccinated.

Protesters: No, we don’t need to be vaccinated.

KDKA has learned it appears the number of unvaccinated workers will be far fewer than expected. Last week, a federal judge rejected an injunction request by county jail guards and police unions hoping to stop the requirement.

“We’re not looking to get rid of people, we’re not looking to terminate people from their jobs,” Fitzgerald said. “We want people to continue to serve the county, but to qualify as a county employee you got to be vaccinated.”

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Chesher said he plans to pursue legal action.

Jennifer Borrasso