Employers across the country are reporting rising inoculation rates among employees due to state mandates requiring that workers get the COVID-19 vaccination.
That said, not every worker is on board with the mandate.
Take Scripps Health, which has fired 35 workers who have refused to get the state-mandated COVID-19 vaccine. Natalie Schleiger is one of them.
“It was a really tough decision," Schleiger said. "Losing my job is super scary. I’m still going through the emotions, but I am at peace with my decision."
Schleiger, who worked in the Scripps Health credentialing department for the past two years, did not have direct contact with patients. The 34-year-old is refusing to get the COVID vaccine because, in her opinion, it's too new and there’s not enough research on potential adverse effects.
“Yes, I lost my job because of it, but I can't take it back once I get the vaccine," Schleiger said. "So I need more time, is what I told them. I need more clinical trials and more time to get the vaccine."
Schleiger was fired on Sept. 30, a day before the state-mandated deadline requiring workers to get the COVID Vaccine. In making her personal decision, she gave up a $45,000 a year job with benefits but said she has full support from her family.
“I did go back and forth, thinking maybe I should just get it so I could put food on the table, but just seeing other people go through what they did getting the vaccine, it didn’t sit well with me,” said Schleiger, referring to adverse effects of the vaccine reported by friends and family.
Schleiger said getting the vaccination should be a choice, not a requirement.
“It was hard because getting to work at Scripps was my dream job," Schleiger said. "That's where I wanted to be and thrive. But being forced to get the vaccine by their deadline, I just couldn't bring myself to do it."
A Scripps Health representative said the 35 terminated employees represents a very small portion of its overall workforce: 0.21%.
Meanwhile, Scripps Health said it will rehire the terminated employees with full seniority if they’re fully vaccinated by Nov. 1. said she won’t return if she's required to be vaccinated.
“Regarding the vaccine, I just think it should be your freedom of choice,” Schleiger said.