YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mercy Health officials confirmed Thursday that they are moving forward with a system-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Many workers are not happy about this. First News heard from one nurse who says it goes against her faith.
Christina Hunter has been a nurse for 17 years and spent most of her time in the Mercy Health system.
She was a front line worker through the pandemic as well.
With the latest announcement from Mercy Health about the vaccine mandate, she says it goes against what she religiously believes in.
“I did file for religious exemption and what I think is important is that filing for religious exemption just means that you are exercising your right that you already have through the Constitution,” Hunter said.
Hunter said she just wants to be an advocate for medical freedom. Because of that, she wants to help others who share similar beliefs as she does.
She said Mercy Health wants proof that you belong to a religious group, a written statement as to why you are against the vaccine, and an affidavit.
“Different facilities, employers are asking specific questions and they sometimes can be very hard to answer, so my dad being a pastor, is kind of helping people, walking them through that, giving them advice,” Hunter said.
As of right now her religious exemption has not been approved.
Hunter said going forward, if she does not get approved she will more than likely be terminated or moved to a different area that does not involve patient care. But she said that isn’t going to stop her from doing what she believes in and it actually makes her feel empowered.
“God has made me capable of doing many things and I feel like if Mercy Health wants to terminate a nurse who has 17 years of experience, then they should be the ones to feel bad about that,” Hunter said.
Mercy Health sent out a statement: “Mercy Health is proceeding with plans to meet the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) requirement for health care workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. The COVID-19 vaccine helps keep employees and patients safe and lessens the likelihood for serious illness.”
First News also asked about the religious exemptions and they told us they review them on a case by case basis.