Pregnant Nurse Refuses COVID-19 Vaccine: ‘My Family Comes First’

OCEANSIDE, NY — A pregnant emergency room nurse at Mount Sinai South Nassau is refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine but is still able to work temporarily.

The nurse, who would only give her first name, Rachel, has been an ER nurse at the hospital for seven years.

“I am currently seven months pregnant,” she told Patch. “I’m not comfortable receiving the vaccine right now.”

She is expecting a court hearing on Oct. 12 for a final decision on “what my position at work is going to be [or] if I’m going to have a position at work,” Rachel said.

When the state-issued mandate for hospital workers took effect last month, South Nassau suspended a few dozen employees without pay.

Despite the many years of research, Rachel is uncertain about the future for COVID-19 vaccine recipients.

“I don’t see how something that has just recently come out can be deemed 100 percent, or almost 100 percent, safe and effective in pregnant women,” Rachel said. “For the most part, there are no long-term studies on it.”

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in August that the vaccine is safe for pregnant women and fetuses.

“CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”

But Rachel, a longtime Oceanside resident, would prefer health officials making the vaccine guidance as a recommendation as opposed to the more-stringent mandate.

If a judge sides with the state, she isn’t sure what the hospital will do. This week, Northwell Health announced 1,400 health care workers were laid off for failure to get vaccinated.

However, Rachel seems more clear about her own situation.

“To feel like I’m being pushed out just because I don’t want to get the vaccine is hurtful,” she admitted. “If push comes to shove, and it’s either my job or the vaccine, my health comes first. My family comes first. That’s the path that I’m going to take. I would prefer to keep working.”