Hello Fellow Healthcare Worker! Having managed so far to avoid being fired for refusing the Flu vaccine, with methods ranging from Religious Exemption, to Mask-Wearing, here are some of my observations “from the field”, in hopes that you may find something that will be useful in your own situation. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and in America, Civil Disobedience has a long and effective history of being utilized by those oppressed, to bring attention to their plight, gain sympathy from persons of influence, and change the course of the national conversation regarding their cause.
The more trouble we can make Mandatory Vaccination Time for the employer, the more annoyed they will be with the whole process. Most people really don’t like having to get shots. This has to include some Managers, Human Resources, Infection Control nurses, Pastoral Care, Administrators, office staff, & Legal department personnel. These people are not going to go against the tide, they “go along to get along”. However, at least some of them have to secretly be a little disgruntled about the whole thing. Some may even be secretly cheering us on. let’s leverage any support we can get from them. If they are not against us, they may potentially be for us. The more of a hassle & a headache it is, to get the 90% vaccinated, & prepare & submit all the necessary documentation, plus the nuisance of dealing with exemptions, declinations, & documenting & policing all of that, every year, the worse of a taste it will leave in people’s mouths. These people are busy, most of them surely don’t need more impositions on their time. (This can also work in our favor in the future, if the flu shot is enough of a hassle, when CMS attempts to mandate even more vaccines, employers who are already having enough trouble keeping up with the flu vaccine, may begin to “push back” a little.)
When they roll out “Flu Shot Time”, try asking your fellow employees, to please consider waiting until the last possible day to get their mandatory shot. You can say you are helping participate in the national observance of “After You Day!” This day will vary from each place of employment, it is basically the final day of any “deadline” that is given, to get a flu shot. We can frame it in a positive way: Healthcare workers are conscious of the fact that some years there are flu vaccine shortages, and being the noble self-sacrificing professionals we are, we merely wish for all others to have their chance to get the vaccine first. If employer says “Oh, we have enough for everybody”, staff can demur & say,“Oh, that’s ok, we always think of others first!” Having a substantial portion of the employees wait until the last day, would surely cause some teeth-gnashing in the Infection Control office. They may move back the deadline, in which case the staff should take advantage of getting to wait longer! (Wouldn’t it be great if this really did catch on as a national thing? The public would have to ask, why DO all those healthcare people put off getting THEIR shot until the last possible day? See the lightbulbs go on above people’s heads.)
1) Don’t go to the vaccine pushers, make them come looking for you.If you are in danger of being fired over the issue: Drag out all interactions. Don’t respond to emails right away. Make appointments for meetings as far in the future as possible. Make the meetings last a long time. If you are handed something to read &/or sign, take as long as possible reading it. Ask for clarification. Pause a long time to digest the “clarification”. Also, most people don’t realize, they usually don’t have to sign *anything* “right now”. Say you would need to take the paper (or at least a copy) home with you so you can research it further, or talk it over with… (pause)… “someone”.
Than, don’t be in any hurry to return the paperwork. If they press you to return it, say you need more time. You might even misplace it!
2) Regarding signing anything, follow suggestions others have posted to NAMV , such as, drawing a line through things you don’t agree with, writing in your own statements, & then signing “Under duress” next to your signature, are all ways to resist.
If you have to, for example, write in a reason for declining, you can type your statement out, print it off, then make a copy of their paper with your typed statement superimposed over the area where you were supposed to handwrite an answer. (It helps to use a bolder typeface than their paper used.) It looks much more serious & professional, when you can turn in a paper that they thought would have a little handwritten statement on it, to rather look like you mean business. Insist on having a copy of everything.
3) If you have to meet with management, or Human Resources, try to meet with just one person, & then after that meeting, request to meet with their superior, or your superior, or any other department you can think to involve (see list above), but, make the meetings one at a time, and as many days apart from each other, as possible. The goal is to stay employed as looong as possible, plus those meetings should be on paid time, right?
4) If your hospital requires masks, depending on their policy, flout it when you are off-duty. If staff is allowed to have family members or others stop by the nurses station to pick up or drop things off, chat briefly, etc, while on duty, make sure to stop by to do similar things to your on-duty coworkers, unmasked. Bring cookies to your on-duty coworkers. Visit in the rooms of friends or relatives who are hospitalized. Eat meals at the hospital cafeteria (maybe lunch dates with your on-duty coworkers?) on your time off. All without a mask. (See lightbulbs go on.)
5) If you are to be terminated, (DON’T Resign!), don’t go with quiet dignity. Be angry (not threatening) or miserable, whichever feels right to you. Make them (from the higher-ups to the secretaries) look you in the eye. Make them squirm with discomfort. Try to make sure their consciences bother them. Your tears affect your fellow humans at the gut level. Especially in health care, where empathy is hopefully in greater supply. Take a long time to clean out your desk, locker, etc., & do it when there are likely to be the most people around. Write farewell notes. We want this to affect morale. If coworkers are fearful & resentful, and higher-ups are feeling, used, guilty, & uncomfortable, that is as it should be.
6) Once terminated, then gather your quiet but cheerful dignity about you, hold your head up, and go back to visit often, taking cookies to former coworkers, visiting patients, eating in the hospital cafeteria, (lunch dates with former coworkers?), visiting the chapel, anywhere where members of the public can be. Smile a lot. You are Free!
7) If terminated, can you network with others in your area? As a group, perhaps you can get local news media interested in your story. If interviewed, stay on-topic, i.e., this is about resisting MANDATORY vaccination, don’t stray into individual concerns about vaccine safety, ingredients, etc. Or possibly say, “No vaccine is 100% effective, and no vaccine is 100% risk-free. Vaccination is an invasive medical procedure, and we support voluntary, informed consent only, for our patients as well as ourselves.”
8) If you are a religious person, pray for guidance before any meeting. Christians may wish to ask the Holy Spirit to give them the right words. Catholics may wish to ask the intercession of St. Michael, or another favorite saint. If you work for a Faith-based entity, where meetings are often opened with a prayer, before meeting with anyone in regard to your declining the flu shot, say you would like to begin the meeting with a prayer, and have an appropriate prayer ready.
9) If you absolutely feel you have no option but to get the shot (Nursing Students have my greatest sympathies here!), you may find that being forced into a vaccination is likely to haunt you and be memorable to you for a long time. The person who gives you the shot may find it a memorable experience also. Your soul is likely to be in agony over this and you may find yourself giving your soul full expression at the time the shot is being given. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself letting out your pent up frustration, screaming, sobbing, hyperventilating, writhing, jumping around, yelling, knocking the syringe away, all giving expression to the angst you are feeling at this violation of your body and your conscience. When you finally get control of yourself afterward, you may need to explain the reaction was out of your control. You may wish to ask the person who gave you the shot, to then help you fill out & file a Vaccine Adverse Event Report (VAERS) to the government, and, be sure to mention you hope you don’t get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from this whole event. If you DO experience symptoms such as loss of sleep, depression, crying for no reason, anxiety, nervousness, appetite disturbances, poor concentration, having flashbacks causing you to feel shaky & ill when you have to be around needles at work, etc., be sure to seek medical attention to document the after effects & difficulties you are having. If you do end up having to sue for workplace trauma or file a disability claim it will be very important to have documents with dates, times, who what, where, and medical records showing how forced vaccination has adversely affected you.
Be brave, fellow Healthcare Worker, and remember, while the other side accuses us of not protecting our patients, understand, we ARE protecting them from something far worse than Influenza, by fighting to protect the right to Informed Consent and the right of competent adults to control their own healthcare decisions. This IS for our patients! Samantha C.