Fired New York Nurse Speaks Against Mandate: ‘Not Just About Vaccines, It’s About Human Rights’

A hospital worker looks out the window as nurses gather outside of Mount Sinai Hospital in
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

A fired New York nurse, who has been working in the medical field for over 20 years, spoke against the coronavirus vaccine mandate, explaining that it is “not just about vaccines” but “human rights.”

Monday, September 27, marks the deadline for New York healthcare workers to receive at least their first vaccine shot. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the mandate in mid-August prior to his resignation. Under the order, all healthcare workers in the state must be vaccinated for the Chinese coronavirus “with limited exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons.”

“Our healthcare heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine,” Cuomo said in a statement at the time.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attends a ceremony at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020 at the World Trade Center in New York. The original church was destroyed in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The shrine is expected to open in 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

“We have always followed the science, and we’re doing so again today, with these recommendations by Dr. Zucker and federal and state health experts,” he continued, adding his urge for private businesses to implement “vaccinated-only admission policies” — something New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is beginning to enforce in the city.

Eyewitness News spoke to a longtime nurse (without identifying her) who was “terminated from her job at Mather Hospital and her last day at South Shore Surgery Center is Monday.”

“For us, it’s not just about vaccines, it’s about human rights as well,” she said, explaining she is not against the vaccine itself.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 09: People gather at City Hall to protest vaccine mandates on August 09, 2021 in New York City. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that as of August 16th proof of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination will be required to attend indoor restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues with enforcement of the mandate to begin on September 13th. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced a vaccination mandate for state employees and patient-facing health care workers at state hospitals with an option to get weekly testing. According to CDC data, NYC is now considered a "high" or "substantial" COVID transmission area, after an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. The Delta variant now accounts for over 80% of all positive cases in NYC. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

People gather at City Hall to protest vaccine mandates on August 09, 2021 in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

“For the people that wanted to take the vaccine and these people I think should have taken the vaccine. I’m not against the vaccine,” she said, emphasizing that people “have the right to choose to take it.”

“I should have the right to choose not to if I feel like it’s not good for me,” she added.

Northwell Health, the Empire State’s largest healthcare provider, had roughly nine percent of staff unvaccinated as of last week, according to Eyewitness News.

“Unvaccinated team members have been notified about the need to receive at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday, Sept. 27 or be subject to adverse action, up to and including termination,” Northwell Health said in a statement on Friday, assuring that it is preparing for any potential staffer shortages due to the mandate’s deadline.

“A system-wide workforce planning taskforce is working on contingency plans to ensure that we can meet staffing needs,” it said, adding it is “optimistic that these mandates will soon allow us to provide a fully vaccinated staff to our patients and the communities we serve.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said she is “monitoring the staffing situation closely” and is reportedly considering deploying medically-trained members of the National Guard in the event of a staffing shortage. She is also hoping to work with federal officials to “expedite visa requests for medical professionals.”


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