Behind Closed Doors, Look What Hospital Workers Now Say About Vaccine


Somehow it’s not a surprise.

In the midst of panic over the delta strain of COVID-19, some nurses losing their jobs over mandatory vaccines will aggravate the ongoing nursing shortage. But is that not predictable?

According to an American Nurses Association survey, most (88 percent) of nurses are going along with the program to be vaccinated, while 7 percent of some 4,900 nurses in the study are refusing to be vaccinated and 4 percent are undecided.

Significantly, nearly a third of nurses surveyed oppose employer vaccination mandates. Also, the 11 percent of nurses choosing not to be vaccinated or who are undecided is a substantial amount.

And behind the statistics are human costs.

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“I am willing to lose my job … I’ve been at it for over 19 years. I love it but I will not give in on this and it’s something I really feel firmly about,” nurse Tana Coffee told KERO-TV in Bakersfield, California.

Nina McDonald, a certified nurse assistant at a memory and substance abuse care center in Joliet, Illinois, told the Joliet Herald-News that mandatory vaccination requirements have shattered her dream of becoming a nurse. “Maybe it’s a sign I should step back from health care,” she said.

“I do anything to make sure my patients are cared for. But I will have the right to say what goes in my body,” McDonald said.

This is not the unified picture of the health establishment that scolds us through billboards, television announcements and social media to get the vaccine. Get the vaccine. Get. The. Vaccine. “Please get vaccinated,” Dr. Anthony Fauci says.

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In some parts of the nation, hospital administrators report only half the nurses are vaccinated, according to Bloomberg. Administrators see a dilemma: Lose nurses who quit for refusing to be vaccinated or have nurses be absent if their lack of vaccination results in them getting COVID.

Alan Levine, the CEO of Ballad Health, which runs 21 hospitals in four states, doesn’t require staff vaccinations. But if he did, he predicted he’d lose 15 percent of his nurses, which would total about 900. That’s a bigger hit than the 130 staff members his hospitals quarantined one day in August, he told Bloomberg. He estimated half the front-line nursing staff is vaccinated.

And what happens if nurses leave in the midst of COVID health care demands? Tina Gordon, who heads the North Carolina Association of Nurses, told WNCN-TV the system is already stressed because nurses are worn out from fighting the pandemic.

Burned out nurses, coupled with staff losses due to vaccine mandates — it’s not pretty.

In the ANA survey, 84 percent of nurses not intending to get vaccinated said there “was not enough information about long-term effects of the vaccine.” Apparently allowed in the survey to cite more than one reason, 77 percent of the nurses said they would decline the vaccine because of “not enough information about safety” and 71 percent distrusted how the vaccine was developed and tested.

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Forty-four percent would be declining the vaccine because they don’t think it’s necessary. While that might not be a startling statistic, consider that these nurses are trained health care workers desperately needed in the nation’s health care system.

Significantly, nearly a third of the 4,900 surveyed have master’s degrees in nursing.

Not surprisingly, since large associations often sidle up to the establishment, the ANA announced support of vaccine mandates, saying nurses have an ethical duty to be vaccinated for COVID and such vaccinations are in line with the ANA’s “longstanding position on immunizations, which emphasizes that effective protection of the public health mandates that all individuals receive immunizations against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Of course, as in so many discussions about COVID, there are no mentions of natural immunity, which is increasingly being viewed as being more effective than vaccination.

And vaccine mandates largely ignore reports of serious vaccine side effects and of vaccinated individuals getting COVID.

Dissent, of course, is not tolerated. In fact, the arguments in favor of COVID vaccines are so heavy-handed as to be comical.

At this point, personal disclosure is appropriate: Eight years ago, my wife lost her cherished position as a hospice nurse because she refused to take a flu shot. As a result, she became part of a Facebook group Nurses Against Mandatory Vaccines.

Conduct a Facebook search for the NAMV now, and it’s a circus of promotion from the establishment about the wonders of vaccination.

At what point does Soviet-style messaging from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from others become overkill?

And speaking of dissent, some nurses and others are taking to the streets in protest. The Epoch Times reported on a demonstration in California the weekend of Aug. 21 and KAIT-TV reported a Saturday demonstration against mandates at health care facilities in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Connecticut’s WFSB reported on health care workers and supporters demonstrating Saturday at Hartford Hospital.  “Please don’t take my job where I was working overtime in the thick of the COVID units,” nurse Peter Koniezka said. “To go from being a hero to being disposable and expendable, I think, is really cutting at the core of a lot of our nurses.”

Left out of the discussions regarding vaccine mandates is what used to be considered the sacred relationship between individuals and their doctors. One would think that would be especially true for those who are more than patients, as health care workers are colleagues and sometimes even advisers to their physicians.

It’s important for individuals to study various health and wellness issues, using tried research methods and consulting with trusted researchers and doctors. Then individuals — not employers and not government agencies — can make the best decisions for their health, their families and those around them.

People repeatedly say follow the science. But it seems these days that the science being driven to the top is political science.

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.