THEY DON’T CARE: Mercy nurse disheartened after religious exemption denied, frustrated Gov. Reynolds, legislature allowing it to happen

She never thought it would come to this. Now that it has, she’s disheartened, heartbroken and extremely frustrated.

The Iowa Standard spoke with a nurse who works for Mercy. She found out Thursday her religious exemptions from the COVID vaccine mandate was denied.

“They gave us a list that just said your exemption was denied because one of these reasons and then there were nine reasons and they were very broad,” she told us. “It didn’t say which one mine fell under, but it said we could or can open a case with employee central to get more information about why our exemption was specifically denied. But we cannot give them any more information or say anything else — it’ll just be another committee that reviews it.”

She thought the deadline is Nov. 1, but saw someone else post the first vaccine needs to be injected by Oct. 15.

“I wasn’t too worried about it because I didn’t think this was going to be a thing,” she said. “But they told us in the denial letter our position would change to jeopardy status. Our position will be posted and recruited for. Once the position is filled, they’ll give us our two-week notice.”

Despite the get-it-or-get-fired ultimatum, she said she will not receive the shot.

“I’m not going to get it. I will eventually be terminated,” she said. “I don’t know how long the jeopardy status will float, but I’m lucky enough that I can walk away and not have to worry about the bills being paid.”

Meanwhile, she’s well aware the Iowa legislature did nothing earlier this year during the regular session and did nothing during Tuesday’s special session. She knows Gov. Kim Reynolds refuses to do anything as well — sign an executive order or call for a special legislative session addressing this issue specifically.

“I’m extremely frustrated — they even said back in the day that if it ever came to this they would call a special session and make sure to make it right,” she said. “When they were all singing their praises when they passed the vaccine passport bill, now all of this is happening and they don’t seem to care or they make statements like they haven’t heard there are many people upset by it or people can just get religious or medical exemptions, it’s not a big deal. It is extremely frustrating.”

Dozens, if not hundreds, of Mercy employees found out Thursday their exemptions were denied. She said coworkers are heartbroken.

“They’re unsure what they’re going to do. They’re just not sure what their next steps are going to be,” she said. “One person asked if they’re just supposed to give two weeks now so they make sure to get their PTO. Another person is just going to ride it out and see what happens. Hopefully they change their mind or maybe they just won’t fill that position and they can stay. And other people just aren’t really sure.

“I know a lot of people who have to have the check to make the bills. So it’s the last thing they want to do, but they might not be left with another option.”

Author: Jacob Hall