This is the sixth in a series of stories of people losing their jobs because they have declined to take the required Covid-19 vaccination. The identities of these workers are being kept confidential because they fear reprisal. More stories will be included in future editions of this series as it continues this week. Previous interviews in this series are listed at the bottom of this story. Send your story to [email protected].
Rebecca is a nurse at Regional Hospital in Anchorage. After more than 10 years there, she is worried she’ll lose her job. Although Regional has not forced Covid vaccines on its workers, that all may change when the President Biden “jab or no job” policy takes hold next month.
Companies that employ more that 100 people or that have contracts with the federal government must ensure that their workforces are vaccinated, or tested weekly, although it’s unclear if the enforcement will be rolled out, due to the over 21 lawsuits now in play. The fine from OSHA is $14,000 per infraction, although a massive bill called “Build Back Better” from the House Democrats has fines as high as $70,000 for each serious infraction, and as much as $700,000 for willful or repeated violations. With that amount envisioned for non-vaccinated employees, the penalty could bankrupt non-compliant organizations.
Rebecca is in her late 40s and doesn’t want the Covid-19 vaccine because she is seeing too many people who have taken the vaccine and who are now hospitalized, as they are suffering from blood clots. Is it related? She doesn’t know, but it concerns her.
“We have more rapid responses and Code Blues than we have ever had, and not on our ICU floors, but in our other units. The one think that they all seem to have in commons is so many of them are vaccinated. We’re just seeing a huge amount of blood clots, PEs (pulmonary embolisms) and DVTs (deep vein thrombosis), strokes, and all of this is blood-clot related,” she said. “The one thing that they all seem to have in common is so many of them are vaccinated.”
Rebecca said it is not uncommon for the ICU to be full at any of the local hospitals, or for other units in the hospital to be full. And it’s not uncommon to have to take the least sick person from an ICU room and put in a sicker person.
“We don’t have a lot of beds, so if we do certain procedures, they have to go to ICU after the procedures. The media is sensationalizing it as though out hospitals are full of Covid people,” she said.
She also disputes the narrative that those coming into the hospital who end up with a positive Covid diagnosis are more combative with medical staff. She explained that some people coming in from off-the-grid Alaska are just naturally grumpy people who don’t take well to others. This is not unusual, and if they are getting a Covid diagnosis even if they don’t have symptoms, they might be a bit cross about it, especially if they are inebriated. Medical professionals in Alaska are accustomed to these types of patients.
What she is seeing, however, is tremendous tension between vaccinated and unvaccinated staff. “I’ve never seen people disrespect religious beliefs before. For example, Jehovah’s Witness patients who won’t take a blood transfusion — that has always been respected. We’ve respected the religious beliefs of Muslims. But now? Unfortunately, there’s a lot of hostility toward the unvaccinated,” she said.
“For me, it’s about the science. I’m not in favor of mandates on the vaccines, but I really want to know. Seeing what we are seeing, it just hurts my heart to think about it. I’ve had two friends lose three parents since they were vaccinated. They were older people, in their late 70s or early 80s, and their deaths are not officially attributed to the vaccine, but they had very recently been vaccinated. Nursing home deaths are insanely high, even though the residents and patients have all been vaccinated,” she said.
Rebecca described a patient who was young but had to be put on a defibrillator because she went into cardiac arrest. She was vaccinated.
“We’re not hearing about this in the news, but I and other nurses are seeing it,” she said.
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.