NAPLES — Friday was the first full day employees at Naples Community Hospital were required to be fully vaccinated.
Now we’re hearing from two nurses who didn’t agree with that policy. One of them resigned, while the other was able to get an exemption.
Both of the nurses tell us they were concerned about how little data there is right now about the long-term effects of the vaccines, but they wanted to speak out because they say, for the nurses who still work at NCH, there will soon be a requirement to wear a special badge identifying themselves as unvaccinated.
We haven’t been able to get the hospital system to confirm that policy, but the nurse we spoke with provided us with a letter she received outlining that new requirement.
"It’s a discrimination. Everyone will know your medical status," said the nurse, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.
That nurse told us she’s still working at NCH and received an exemption from being vaccinated.
She gave us a letter she says she received from the hospital, telling her "You will be required to turn in your current badge and receive a new badge from Security at the NCH Business Center, no later than Monday, October 11th.”
“It’s horrifying that a patient is going to see a nurse with a different badge, and be afraid of that nurse," said another nurse we spoke with, who said she recently resigned from her position at NCH after two decades of working there. That nurse also didn’t want to be identified.
She said she resigned from NCH rather than receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m not anti-vaccine. My children have received vaccines, I have received vaccines, but the mRNA vaccine is so new in humans. I want more data," said the nurse.
The nurse still working at NCH told us she plans to comply with the policy to wear a different badge reflecting her vaccine status, but she’s worried about how she will be perceived.
“It’s very sad when a patient looks at you and says I don’t want you taking care of me. We were heroes, and we’re no longer heroes," said the nurse.
The NCH hospital system said in a press release that 98.7% of its staff are now fully vaccinated.