FIRED FOR NOT TAKING THE JAB: LG Candidate: “My Beloved Beverly Hospital Let Me Go”

LG Candidate: “My Beloved Beverly Hospital Let Me Go”

By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service

MAY 10, 2022……Explaining her passion to rescind employment-based vaccine mandates “at the state level,” Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Leah Cole Allen said she learned over the weekend that she lost her job at Beverly Hospital due to its COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

In March, when she was introduced as his running mate by gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl, Allen said her nursing job was on the line but declined to name her employer, saying she hadn’t received a termination letter.

“I took an extended leave and I just recently tried to go back to work,” she said during a Mother’s Day interview on North Shore 104.9 with Joe Piantedosi. “I got cleared to return to work and then due to the vaccine mandate, I actually just got my official letter yesterday.”

Allen, who said in March that she used the religious exemption “to exercise my right to opt out of the vaccine,” said she went on maternity leave after her son was born in October 2021. A Danvers resident, Allen and her husband also have a two-year-old daughter.

Allen was elected to the House at the age of 24 and resigned during her second term to return to nursing. She started working at Beverly Hospital in 2017 and the floor she worked on was designated for COVID patients.

“Even while I was pregnant, I took care of COVID patients,” she said.

Allen described “almost eerie” conditions at the hospital when COVID first hit in 2020.

“In the beginning, it was really scary,” she said. “The hospital had almost nothing but COVID patients because nobody was coming to the hospital because they were afraid of being exposed to COVID. We had a lot of patients and it was really scary. We didn’t know at first what it was, how it spread. People were getting really sick really quickly. And then it was just kind of the stress of all the PPE that we had to wear. And, you know, it was a lot of stress. But I think as the pandemic went on, and we learned more about it and about how it spread and who was affected by it and things like that, I think there was a lot of different ways that it could have been handled. And I think that’s part of the reason why I was interested in getting involved in politics again.”

Allen said Diehl’s opposition to vaccine mandates for state workers made his campaign appealing to her.

“I really loved my profession,” she said. “And unfortunately, after the pandemic, there was the vaccine mandate — had to get the COVID shot to continue working — and I was pregnant at the time and I’m still nursing my son and I wasn’t comfortable with the safety data that was available, or should I say not available, on the COVID vaccine. I opted not to take it and, unfortunately, my beloved Beverly Hospital let me go.”

She continued: “I think everybody should do what’s right for them. If you feel that you’re protected by the COVID vaccine, you should absolutely get it. But I also think that people should have a choice if they want to take it or not, and I don’t believe that it should be tied to your employment.”

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in August 2021 imposed a vaccine mandate across the executive branch of state government and similar mandates have been adopted, often with high compliance rates but strong opposition, across other employment bases in the public and private sectors.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded that COVID-19 vaccines are “safe and effective” and that vaccination “helps protect adults and children ages 5 years and older from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19 and helps protect those around them.”

According to the most recent state data, which does not capture at-home testing, there have been nearly 1.65 million confirmed COVID-19 cases across Massachusetts during the pandemic. State officials say there have been 19,199 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, and the average age of a patient who died from the disease was 79. As of Monday, the state counted nearly 5.4 million residents of Massachusetts as “fully vaccinated.”

During her interview, Allen also called nurses “the backbone of hospital systems” and said she hoped “hospital corporations” would start treating nurses better.

“I think they’ve been getting a raw end of the deal lately when it comes to staffing and pay and everything,” she said.

Without mentioning any specifics, Allen also said in the radio interview that remote learning gave parents insight into some aspects of education that they disagree with.

“They saw some things that their children were learning in school that they thought maybe were not appropriate for their age levels, and I agree with that,” Allen said.




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