Nurse facing vaccine mandate: ‘Last year we were heroes, now we are being called names’

Industries that are already seeing record labor shortages are now facing another obstacle — a potential further loss of workers if they choose to impose vaccination mandates.

Earlier this month, health care workers held a rally to protest forced vaccines by employers. According to Health Choice Vermont, a group committed to protecting choice in personal health care decisions, the rally was a demonstration by essential health care workers who dutifully served to combat the coronavirus pandemic. These workers have a right to decide how they want to manage their medical decisions, the group maintains.

Wikimedia Commons/Jollyroger

ON THE FRONT LINES: Nurses get to see most of the initial reactions to vaccines, and some are choosing not to take the injections based on their experience working with patients.

Regarding adverse reactions to Covid shots in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is currently at 545,337 adverse events, including 12,366 reported deaths, as of the end of July.

One nurse who has decided against taking Covid inoculations while they are yet in the experimental phase is Felicia McKinstry, a Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital lab assistant and phlebotomist.

“Last year, we were heroes, now we are being called names, and being fired for something we don’t want to put into our bodies,” she told Vermont-based clinical nutritionist Alison Despathy, who reported on the protest for Health Choice Vermont. “I have been face to face with the virus right from the start, but with proper equipment, and precautions, I am still on the frontline. We can still get, and pass the virus even with having the vaccine, so why does having it really make a difference?”

McKinstry noted that the long-term effects of the injections are still largely unknown.

“We don’t know the full effects the vaccine is going to have down the road,” she said. “After hearing and personally seeing the side effects of these vaccines, that is not something I want to take a chance on, especially with a health condition I have. We just want more time, and more science.”

The nation is already facing a nursing shortage for a variety of reasons, according to a report by the University of St. Augustine. “The United States is in the midst of a critical nursing shortage that is expected to continue through 2030,” the report states.

Abby Johnson, a licensed nursing assistant at the same hospital, shared why she believes in the freedom to choose for or against vaccination.

“There is no such thing as freedom if we are not free to determine what is and what is not injected into our bodies,” she said. “I am a cancer survivor and am firm on my stance on this. As healthcare providers, we advocate for our patients’ rights to choose even at times we may not agree on those choices.

“… I am simply asking for the same respect and to continue working the job I love without fearing the loss of that job because I choose bodily autonomy. I stand for freedom, not force.”

Health Choice Vermont is requesting that all institutions pause their vaccine mandates for employees until the current phase 3 clinical trial can be properly assessed.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Alison Despathy/Health Choice Vermont and Wikimedia Commons/Jollyroger