Two healthcare professionals share their reasons for not wanting to take the COVID 19 vaccine, and explain the repercussions on them and their families.
Enablement assistant in social care for 15 years
I wanted to go into social care because I love caring for people. I love to see people being enabled to reach their full potential, even when they have gone through a health challenge like a stroke, or being in hospital. It’s rewarding.
Working during COVID was horrendous. In spring 2020, it was tough as we were fighting an unknown, unseen virus. It was horrendous. We weren’t given enough PPE at the start. We didn’t know which service users had COVID as there were no tests available. I felt undervalued and scared. Coming home we had to take our shoes off before we came in the house. There were some nights I cried in the shower, thinking what is going on? If it wasn’t for a few work colleagues I wouldn’t have got through. We were shielding and protecting one another. I had to boycott the news as it just instilled fear. Our poor service users were very fearful.
I feel so strongly about protecting my human rights, I am preparing myself to lose my job.
When it comes to the vaccine I believe everybody has a choice, and our human right is that we have our choice. Whether you choose to have or not have, that is your choice. I believe there’s a lot of uncertainty around it.
I chose not to take the vaccine and I believe that this is an issue of human rights. I should be able to say no. It is more the human rights element for the vaccine at the moment. I understand about transmitting the virus, research suggests you can still transmit the virus to those in your home if you are double vaccinated.
If mandatory vaccinations for health and care workers go ahead on 1 April 2022, I will be sacked. I feel so strongly about protecting my human rights, I am preparing myself to lose my job. It’s stressful and daunting. I love my job so much, and I thought it was for life. I can’t believe that this is actually happening. I still feel I am in some twilight zone.
I feel like I am in a coercive relationship. Many years ago I was in a coercive relationship. I was coerced and blackmailed – he said if I left him, he would take the children. This is how it feels to me, that I am being blackmailed. I can remember in my relationship, being told it was ‘for my own good’ that I didn’t talk back (so that I would not get hit). Being forced to take the vaccines feels very similar.
I can’t believe that this is actually happening. I still feel I am in some twilight zone.
I will shed many tears when I leave. It will be emotional and will mean I won’t be financially secure. I try hard to not let that dominate my thoughts, but to stay strong and stick to my beliefs. I pray there will be people who will stand up for us and fight for us. As a Christian I also will take it all to God in prayer.
Part time intensive care nurse for 15 years
I have always had a desire to care for the sick, to do meaningful work with people, to demonstrate compassion and offer encouragement and hope. Helping to ensure people die with dignity and comfort is a great privilege, and I feel I am in such a unique position as a nurse, to make a difference to people’s experiences of illness and dying, for example ensuring adequate pain relief, educating the family, and offering comfort (physical, emotional, spiritual).
I continued to work part time work in the intensive care unit since the start of the pandemic. The first few months were immense. It was unclear how safe we were at work, being exposed to COVID when so little was known about it in the early days of the pandemic. The workload was heavy and we had to write our names on our face shields because we were unrecognizable in all our PPE. It was hard to breathe in the masks and we couldn’t even drink water or go to the loo until our lunch or dinner break, as it was too time-consuming and wasteful to take off all the PPE and put new ones on again.
One of the saddest parts was having to set up FaceTime meetings between patients and their loved ones who were not allowed to visit- at a time when they were desperately ill and dying, and really needed family present in person. These video calls usually brought me to tears.
I fervently believe the choice to take the vaccination should be a personal decision.
I also saw some amazing works of healing after having prayed for patients and saw them make miraculous full recoveries. After having been extremely ill on multiple life support machines, two of the patients I had looked after made it home!
When it comes to the vaccines, they were rolled out so quickly that I have concerns about them. There is very little long term safety data for this new vaccination. For my age and risk factors, I believe that exposure to COVID and acquiring natural immunity may be safer and more long-lasting than taking the vaccine. I choose to take this ‘risk’ rather than trust a very new vaccine. I also do not wish to have to take boosters every few months to ‘maintain’ immunity.
Research shows that the vaccine does not stop transmission of COVID. Therefore it makes no sense at all to me, that the unvaccinated (who are just as likely to transmit covid as the vaccinated) would be considered to pose a risk to patients and other staff. There is no justification (in the name of protecting others) for mandating the covid vaccination.
I fervently believe the choice to take the vaccination should be a personal decision. We cannot discriminate against those who don’t choose to have it, or remove their jobs and livelihoods, education opportunities, ability to visit family members in rest homes, and other basic human rights removed from them.
There will be staff shortages, and that means the NHS could be more overwhelmed than ever.
This means that as of April, I will lose my job if the vaccine mandate goes ahead. I’m sad that all my dedication, commitment and hard work to become an ICU nurse and maintain my professional development over all these years may become simply irrelevant, and I may no longer be able to look after patients, just because I don’t want to take the vaccine. It will mean I am no longer able to maintain my nursing registration or contribute to the family’s income.
I am deeply concerned that the impact of vaccine mandates on the NHS will be devastating. Analysis by NHS Providers show that more than 100,000 NHS workers are choosing not to take the vaccination. There will be staff shortages, and that means the NHS could be more overwhelmed than ever. We will see further cancellations and delays in surgeries and therefore worse patient outcomes.