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Why some healthcare workers would rather lose their jobs than get vaccinated

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Carole Funk, an experienced nurse, is up-to-date with all her vaccinations and is immunized against the flu every year, but she is not planning to get the Covid-19 immunization. Although he acknowledges that the coronavirus kills, he preferred to lose his job at an urgent care clinic in Virginia before getting vaccinated.

“Being fired is not enough for me to overcome my fear that the side effects or adverse events of these vaccines will not be reported at all,” the 50-year-old told The Wall Street Journal.

Nurse Funk is part of a group of more than 200 Virginia Valley Health System workers who resigned or were fired after the company mandated that all employees be vaccinated.

That health sector workers not only offer resistance, but also lead protests against the obligation to receive the vaccine is one of the main challenges for the health system to control the pandemic, epidemiologists say.

In health systems around the world it is seen as completely normal for employers to require vaccination against infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella or chickenpox, but the Covid-19 vaccine has not fit within this normality.

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Protests in Times Square, New York, in front of the vaccination mandates.  (Photo: Lev Radin / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Protests in Times Square, New York, around vaccination mandates. (Photo: Lev Radin / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images)

A question of freedoms?

But not all those who resist the vaccine do so out of fear of future consequences on their health or because they believe that the authorities do not offer enough information about the effects, but that there is a part that refuses because they feel that the order to be vaccinated violates your individual freedoms.

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“Just because you work in healthcare doesn’t mean science drives your core values,” Leana Wen, former Baltimore City Health Commissioner, told The Wall Street Journal. “There are other factors in people’s lives, other beliefs and sources of information.”

Specialist nurse Katherine Hart, 32, says the conservative education she received at home emphasizes individual rights and personal autonomy, and that vaccine mandates violate those freedoms.

For her, the messages that promote vaccination are propaganda and her main refusal to get vaccinated is the fact that she feels compelled to do so.

“The government should not tell us what to do,” he emphasizes.

Hart and his fiancée have led several protests against the vaccine mandates and have a Facebook group of more than 2,400 health workers who are encouraged to “stand firm” in their positions.

Last December, 39% of the US adult population said they wanted to “wait and see” before receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, while 15% said they “definitely will not” receive the vaccine.

Although controversial, vaccination orders have been effective in convincing many undecided workers of the prospect of losing their jobs.

About 77% of eligible Americans have received at least one injection of a vaccine, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters last week.

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