By Barbara Loe Fisher
2013 was only a few days old when I saw a photo of 61-year old Ethel Hoover, a veteran hospital nurse, who had only missed 4 or 5 days of work in 22 years, she was fired from her job for declining to get a flu shot.
Defending Freedom of Conscience
On her last day of work, she wore black. In the photo, she was standing straight, looking directly into the camera, unafraid, signaling strong ownership of the principled choice she made in defense of autonomy,  freedom of conscience   and protection of bodily integrity. 
“This is my body,” she said. “I have a right to refuse the flu vaccine.” 
Punishment: No Shots, No Job
The Methodist-founded Indiana University Health Goshen Hospital rejected the medical and religious exemptions Ethel filed so they could punish her for obeying her conscience and choosing to stay healthy another way. Refusing to respect her beliefs or superior health and work attendance record, they cited the “no shots, no job” vaccine mandates being pushed by public health officials and Pharma-funded medical trade groups  as a reason to fire her.
Ethel is not alone. Many American nurses and other health care workers are being thrown out on the street without a job   or forced to wear masks and special badges publicly branding them  for declining to subject themselves to the well-known failures and risks of influenza vaccinations, a vaccine that the Centers for Disease Control admits does not protect against influenza nearly half the time  and, like all vaccines, can cause permanent injury when there are complications. 
Hysterical, Ignorant Female Nurses?
A doctor from Vanderbilt University heading up the Campaign for Adult Immunization, which is funded by drug corporation giants Merck and Pfizer, observed that nurses are the most reluctant to get vaccinated. Downplaying the critical thinking going on in the primarily female nursing profession, he quipped with more than a trace of sexism: "There seems to be a persistent myth that you can get flu from a flu vaccine among nurses. They subject themselves to more influenza by not being immunized, and they certainly do not participate in putting patient safety first." 
One of Pharma’s go-to guys apparently feels comfortable perpetuating the myth that nurses are a bunch of hysterical, ignorant females because they are less likely to be persuaded to engage in magical thinking about the benefits and risks of influenza vaccine. I guess it is OK to do that when you can use your medical license as a club to tell other people what to think, believe and do and then harm them when they disagree with you.
Veteran Nurses Not Buying Vaccine Myths
We should all pause and reflect about just why nurses, who devote their lives to saving our lives when we are patients, are not buying the vaccine myths that drug companies and doctors with big titles are hard-selling. Why are veteran nurses sacrificing their careers to take a stand for the right to protect freedom of conscience and bodily integrity?
Perhaps it is because nurses know it is a myth that influenza vaccine is risk-free, when it is not. More nurses today are aware that a flu shot reaction can end in brain inflammation, paralysis  and death, especially if you are biologically more susceptible to vaccine reactions,  and they know that the majority of adult vaccine injury claims paid out by government are for influenza vaccine. 
Nurses also know it is a myth that a flu shot will prevent you from getting or transmitting influenza or other kinds of respiratory infections.  They know that, every year, 70 to 80 percent of all influenza-like-illness (ILI) cases, such as fever, sore throat and cough, test negative for type A or type B influenza.  
Major Labor Unions Opposing “No Shots, No Job” Policy
Major labor unions are opposing the “no shots, no job” mandate that doctors in government and medical trade groups funded by Pharma      are telling employers to impose because they want to force a 90 percent vaccination compliance rate. These unions include American Nurses Association;  National Nurses United;  California Nurses Association;  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA);  Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Employees Union;  American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); ALF-CIO  and others. Joining them are the American Federation of Teachers and Association of Flight Attendants.  Teachers and flight attendants are likely next on the government’s list to be threatened with unemployment, right after child-care workers now being targeted with “no shots, no job” mandates in Texas and Colorado. 
Women’s Professions Being Targeted
Women, many of them single Moms or primary breadwinners for their families, have always filled the ranks of low paying personal service professions in America.  92 percent of American nurses and 98 percent of nursing aides are women.  98 percent of childcare workers are women.  82 percent of American teachers for grades 1 to 12 are women  and 98 percent of pre-school and kindergarten teachers are women.  And 80 percent of American flight attendants are women. 
Is there a pattern here? You bet there is. Because 100 percent of mothers, who give birth to and nurture children until they are old enough to care for themselves, are women. And mothers were the first to be humiliated, marginalized and punished by paternalistic doctors for daring to engage in critical thinking and asking good questions about the quality of vaccine science that doctors still can’t answer.   
Honoring Nurses Defending Critical Thinking
I honor Ethel Hoover and the brave women in nursing fighting to protect their informed consent rights,     which are being taken away inch by inch from all of us by doctors in positions of power.
A nurse, who refuses to abandon the human right to informed consent to medical risk-taking, is a nurse, who will respect your right when you are her patient to make voluntary decisions about medical risks. A nurse, who demands the right to think critically and follow her conscience to protect her body is a nurse, who will defend your right to think critically, follow your conscience and protect your body, no matter what a doctor - male or female - tells you to do with it.
Go to www.NVICAdvocacy.org and learn how you can join the growing number of educated vaccine choice advocates working to protect informed consent rights in America.
It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.
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Colorado and Texas are considering vaccine mandates targeting a new professional group: child care workers.
The Colorado Board of Health voted early in 2012 to pass a rule requiring health care facilities to implement mandatory employee vaccination policies with restrictive medical exemptions. Now there is a push from the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition for the Colorado Board of Health to approve “enhanced immunizations for child care center workers.”
NVIC Calls for Dialogue and Transparency
NVIC’s Executive Director Theresa Wrangham recently attended a Town Hall Meeting in Longmont, Colorado, with legislators asking for “dialogue and transparency” when it comes to addressing policies such as this one. There is concern this rule is being drawn up behind closed doors. During meetings held last year with legislators, Theresa expressed concern about the ease with which the legislative process was bypassed and mandates enacted that impact human rights.
The best-case scenario would be for no mandate but Theresa said, “At the very least, the Board of Health should consider not just medical exemptions surrounding vaccine requirements, but religious and conscientious belief exemptions to uphold workers’ rights to exercise informed consent to medical risk-taking.” She added, “As with health care workers, this is a clear disregard of workplace rights and many professions may be the target of future rule changes and mandates.”
“We need to figure this out,” Theresa noted. “Or the erosion of individual rights is going to get much worse before it gets better.”
Texas Senate Bill Targets Child Care Workers
In Texas during the next few months, legislators will discuss SB64 requiring licensed child care facilities to develop and implement policies surrounding employee vaccination.
In 2011, two bills requiring hospitals to develop mandatory vaccination policies for health care workers died in regular session, but an addition to a Medicaid finance bill in special session quickly pushed through the new state requirement for health care workers.
NVIC’s Director of Advocacy, Dawn Richardson, said “The same Senator is back at it again in the 2013 legislative session, but now she is targeting the jobs of child care workers with SB 64.”, 
Dawn added that the push against vaccine mandates is about protecting the informed consent rights of Americans. “Vaccine mandates are creeping into the adult markets more and more,” she said. “We have to ask - who’s next and with what vaccines?”
“Are we going to get to the point where you can’t have a job without working under [vaccine] mandates?” she said. “It is one thing to say an employee has to wear safety equipment on the job. There are not many risks with safety equipment. There can, however, be significant risks with vaccines.”
Who Pays When Informed Consent Rights Are Violated?
NVIC has previously called on the Colorado Board of Health and the Texas Legislature to evaluate the bigger issues related to informed consent violations in the workplace. For example:
- Who pays the bill when a worker is injured as a result of a vaccination?
- Does the vaccine injury claim go through worker’s compensation?
- What about unemployment compensation when workers are fired for refusing vaccination?
Several of these issues have already popped up around the country. At present, proposed rule changes in Colorado for child care workers have not been published, and it is unclear if such rule change proposals will address outstanding questions and their potential impact to taxpayers, or which vaccines are under consideration for mandate.
In Texas, SB54 will be heard in committee soon. There will be opportunities for the public to offer testimony. Users of the NVIC Advocacy Portal get the latest news about new vaccine mandate bills introduced in the states and are put into direct contact with their elected state representatives so they can make their voices heard.
Feb. 20-21, Jun. 19-20, and Oct. 23-24, 2013:
Meeting dates for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Pre-registration
is required – deadline Feb. 4.
Vaccine Schedule is Safe Report Says: Critics Call for More Research Into Whether Shots May Be Linked to Some Developmental Disorders. Health Day
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Jan. 14, 2013.
Hospitals Turn Away Visitors With Flu Symptoms. New York Times.
Jan. 14, 2013.
Americans ‘Are Sicker and Die Younger’ Than People in Other Wealthy Nations. The Guardian (UK).
Jan. 10, 2013.
Banning Vaccine Preservative Would Hurt Kids in Poor Nations: Experts
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. Texas Legislature Online
Nov. 12, 2012.