I was very excited when Liz Glass informed me that nurses and healthcare professionals have been organizing a similar group to TEACHERS FOR CHOICE, which has come to be known as New York Healthcare Professionals for Choice (NYHPC). (I like calling it NEW YORK NURSES FOR CHOICE, but they prefer and are using a much more inclusive title). They are currently made up of about 70 nurses and healthcare professionals across New York State.
On December 12, 2020 Local 1199, one of the largest and most powerful Healthcare Unions in New York, released a statement stating explicitly that they do not support mandating the COVID vaccine for their members.
This is very big news!
Below is a letter written by Sara Lobato, a highly certified nurse from New York, reaching out to two other unions for healthcare professionals asking them to join Local 1199 in releasing a statement that is firmly in favor of CHOICE when it comes to the COVID vaccine. Please share this post with any nurse, doctor or healthcare professional that you know. If any of them would like to help Lobato and her efforts, they can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – mk
(The below letter was sent to the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) as well as New York Professional Nurses Union (NYPNU): email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org)
To the honorable team at NYSNA
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this letter, and for recognizing the urgency of the situation.
We are writing you regarding a very important issue at the forefront of what we stand for as nurses. We go into this field on the basis of healing others through the nursing process by tirelessly protecting the needs o f each individual. As devoted patient advocates, we have an entrusted interest in fully adhering to the informed consent process, not only for our patients, but for ourselves. In line with NYSNA’s vision to “win healthcare for all”, we must not overlook the importance of trusting the ability of each of us to do so at a personal level.
Informed consent, as you are aware, involves the basic human right to consent or refuse a medical treatment or procedure, including vaccination. The consent must be voluntary. Similar to any pharmaceutical drug, the covid-19 vaccine must not be viewed as one-size-fits-all medicine, and must not fail to take into account the many physical, emotional, religious, and spiritual aspects of each individual.
While there is no immediate, publicized plan to mandate the covid-19 vaccination, it is of great importance you are made aware of and remain alert for this potential reality. New York state assembly bill A11179, currently being reviewed, “Requires a COVID-19 vaccine to be administered in accordance with the department of health’s COVID-19 vaccination administration program and mandates vaccination in certain situations”. While this may be all encompassing, the more likely scenario to play out will call for corporations to decide whether or not their employees will be required to receive this shot in order to remain employed, otherwise risk losing their job in a violation of human rights.
Therefore, we ask that you, as a protective and powerful union, publish a statement against mandating the experimental mRNA covid-19 vaccine for your members, in an effort to support our right to informed consent, constitutional freedoms, and bodily autonomy. In December, the 1199 union listened to the concerns of their educated members and came out with this statement, with included link:
“We strongly encourage our members to get the vaccine when available, as we believe it is a vital tool to help us move forward from COVID-19. We do not, however, support a mandate. As healthcare workers, we know that our members are the most trusted voices on this issue, and well-equipped to make the best possible choices to protect themselves, their families, and their patients.”
We are overjoyed with their stance and are waiting in eager anticipation for NYSNA and other nursing unions to follow their shining example. We are greatly appreciative of your understanding on this matter, and we will continue to be in close and frequent touch with you. Thank you again.
With sincere appreciation,
Sara Lobato RN, IBCLC, BSN, HNB-BC, and the members of New York Healthcare Professionals for Choice