This is the second in a series of stories from Alaska medical professionals who are losing their jobs because they will not take the Covid-19 vaccine. They asked that their names be kept anonymous. This is the testimony of “Janice,” a pharmacist in Anchorage.
Janice has worked as a pharmacist in Anchorage for four years, but has worked in pharmacy since she got a job as a pharmacy technician when she was 17. Her mother always told her to study for a career in health care, because she would always have a job.
But her job is ending next month at an Anchorage hospital because she is not going to take the Covid-19 vaccine. Janice has an auto-immune disorder and provided what she said is a legitimate letter from her doctor saying that the vaccine could make her condition flare up. But the hospital refused to honor the exemption, and so this pharmacist and young mother will be fired.
Janice is the primary income provider for her family, and she’s concerned about making ends meet, although she believes she can pick up part-time or substitute work around the city. It troubles her that she still has significant student loans to repay for her advanced pharmacy degree.
Will she move out of state? No, she said that she and her husband talked about it, but decided that Alaska is their home.
Will she sue? She said she thinks there is a basis for a lawsuit. “Certainly, if I worked at Lowe’s (home improvement store) there would definitely be a lawsuit,” she said.
Can she work remotely? She has asked to do so and said she been denied the accommodation.
Auto-immune diseases are tricky; they are hard to diagnose and difficult to treat. The CDC says that people with an auto-immune disease, such as MS, “should be aware that no data are currently available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people with autoimmune conditions.”
On the other hand, those with auto-immune disease can also have very serious reactions to the virus itself, the CDC says.
It is a decision that is typically made between patient and doctor, not patient and employer. But for some medical professionals this year, the decision is now being made by their human resources department.
There is a silver lining for Janice. She has wanted to spend more time with her children, and although financially this is a major hit for her and her family, she is grateful that she is going to be able to be a more effective parent.
Have you lost your job because you won’t take the Covid-19 vaccine? Are you a medical professional? Send your information to [email protected]. You will be kept anonymous.