CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A group of former and current University of Virginia Health System employees protested the COVID-19 vaccine requirement Monday morning.

Some protesters say they lost their jobs after choosing not to get a shot, while others say they felt coerced into getting one.

An occupational therapist at the health system says if it weren't for the risk of losing her livelihood, she would not have gotten a vaccine.

"I got it because I love my job at UVA and I need my health insurance. I've been a whole year here working and on the COVID unit and I've never gotten COVID. So I'm doing something right and many other people are as well. And I do not feel like I am putting my colleagues or my patients in harm's way," said occupational therapist Rita Hunt.

The protestors say they'd like to see the hospital make the COVID-19 vaccine optional.

Many who were part of the demonstration say they feel discriminated against. They say they are not anti-vax and want people to have a choice in the workplace.

According to UVA Health, more than 99 percent of employees were in compliance with the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.