Their Jobs Made Them Get Vaccinated. They Refused.

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  • Their Jobs Made Them Get Vaccinated. They Refused.

    The willingness of some workers to give up their livelihoods helps explain the country’s struggle to contain the pandemic.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/24/nyregion/new-york-workers-refuse-vaccine.html
    Under the threat of losing their jobs, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers finally got a Covid-19 vaccine. Teachers, nurses and home health aides accepted their occupations’ mandates. The mass resignations some experts had predicted did not occur, as most workers hurriedly got inoculated.

    Josephine Valdez, 30, a public school paraprofessional from the Bronx, did not.

    Failing to meet the New York City Education Department’s vaccination deadline, Ms. Valdez lost her job this month. She is among the 4 percent of the city’s roughly 150,000 public school employees who did not comply with the order

    • She is also part of a sizable, unwavering contingent across the United States whose resistance to the vaccines have won out over paychecks, or who have given up careers entirely.

      This month, Washington State University fired its top football coach and several other members of the team’s staff after they refused to get vaccinated. In Massachusetts, where a state mandate took effect this past week, at least 150 state police officers resigned or filed paperwork signaling plans to do so.

      Their resistance goes against reams of scientific data showing that the Covid-19 vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and effective and have reduced hospitalizations and deaths.

      To public health officials, and the majority of Americans, the defiance is unreasonable and incomprehensible. Who would jeopardize their families’ financial security over a shot that has been proven safe and effective at preventing death?
      That is not the way the holdouts see it. In interviews, New Yorkers who have given up their livelihoods spoke of their opposition to the vaccines as rooted in fear or in a deeply held conviction — resistance to vaccination as a principle to live by, one they put above any health, job or financial consideration.

    • (...) As Ms. Valdez packed up her classroom on her final day, Oct. 1, her students became distressed, she recalled.

      “The kids, they were telling me not to leave, to just go get the vaccine,” said Ms. Valdez, who has moved back in with her parents. “I had to explain to them, the government doesn’t own my body.”

      She is now tutoring an elementary school student whose parents chose to remove their daughter from public school because they oppose the mask requirement for children.

    • Ms. Malek, who was previously a nurse at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, refused vaccination and resigned last month. She is her family’s sole breadwinner, she said, and will be working at an Atlanta hospital on shifts that can last two months at a time.

      “I’ve had anxiety attacks, crying, I’m a hot mess,” said Ms. Malek, who chose not to get vaccinated because she fears possible side effects. “ I don’t want to walk away from this career. I don’t want to walk away from these people who need us. But I also need to know that I am going to be healthy.”

    • “I’ve dedicated my whole life to helping kids,” said Ayse Ustares, a school social worker who is a 20-year veteran of New York City’s schools. She said she had refused to get vaccinated because she had been sick with Covid-19 and believes she now has natural immunity.

    • (...)A Baptist Christian, he said his opposition to abortion was one factor in his refusing the vaccines, which, like many common over-the-counter medicines, were tested or developed using research from fetal cells collected decades ago.(...)

      “I’m not one of these anti-vaxxers as a whole saying, ‘It’s fake.’ It’s not fake,” he said. “I feel very strongly you can get sick and you can die from this. I took care of people who died from this.”

    • Crisleidy Castillo, who was a special-education teacher in the Bronx, said she refused to get vaccinated because she was still breastfeeding her daughter and had concerns because the vaccine had not been tested on women who were breastfeeding.