EXCLUSIVE: Dental hygienist speaks about getting fired for not getting vaccinated

Coronavirus

DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — When Wendy Pickering took a few days off at the end of August, she says she got a text from her boss saying her employment was terminated.

It was shortly followed by an official termination letter from Noonan Dental.

She read some of it to us. “All employees are now required to be vaccinated to treat patients in this office. You have indicated you have chosen not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Pickering said her employer hadn’t said anything about a vaccine mandate until he reached out to her via text message.

“None of my patients ever expressed any concern over being treated by me,” she said. “I had a really bad reaction to a flu vaccine once. It’s been years, 10-12 years, but I had a really bad reaction and was down for probably close to 10 days.”

She says her biggest concern is the impact an employer vaccine mandate will have on the healthcare system.

“We’re already so depleted as it is now. Can we really afford to lose 20-25 percent more healthcare workers?” she said.

We called Noonan Dental and left a message with a receptionist, who told WKRG News 5, “I’m sure he will not have anything to say.”

Meanwhile, many state senators are trying to push legislation through to prohibit employers from making vaccines mandatory.

“All of it deals with the freedom of the individual over what the state may want to require,” said State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Baldwin County). “I think it’s going to be quite an onslaught as to doing different things with protecting individual freedoms.”

Albritton believes these bills will be considered in January’s legislative session.

Gov. Kay Ivey has been urging people from the start to get vaccinated, but says she’s “absolutely against a government mandate on the vaccine.”

Under President Biden’s executive order, qualifying employers must enact a vaccine mandate by Dec. 8.

Several Gulf Coast health groups — including Ascension, which operates Providence and Sacred Heart Hospitals — have implemented their own vaccine requirements.

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