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Patrick Hampton / October 4, 2021

From Heroes to Zeroes

Unvaxxed nurses and first responders are officially unwanted.

An MSNBC article titled “The choice is serve the public or stay unvaccinated. Pick one” was a dark look into the mind of the radical pro-vax community. The column — which was an incredibly insensitive read — concluded as follows:

“The people who are in [health and safety] careers have entered fields in which their employment is conditioned on their willingness to put the safety of their communities first. If they now find that they are unwilling to do so by helping contain a deadly pandemic? Then, frankly, they have been in the wrong line of work this whole time.”

There is so much wrong with this sentiment, I am unsure where to begin. But I will say this: Nurses, health professionals, and first responders were heralded as heroes for the past 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic only for the media, hospital systems, and employers to throw them away like a dirty, used mask for not complying with government COVID vaccine mandates.

We are talking about the men and women who endured everything thrown at them for over a year — understaffed hospitals, uncertainty about their own health having been exposed to this bioweapon, shutdowns, and the stresses that come with it all. If my memory serves me correctly, this time last year we were watching TikTok videos of stressed nurses lifting the pressure valves with their dance routines and messages to families about the severity of the situations they’ve been in. These men and women are now at risk of lining up in the breadlines simply because they refused a vaccine that didn’t exist while they were busy selflessly serving an anxiety-riddled America.

Were these first responders and medical professionals in the wrong line of work when they put their own lives on the line in the name of public safety? We aren’t just talking about eating bullets on the streets; we’re talking about going over a year without a vaccine to triage and treat our most vulnerable populations. Many of these professionals are being fired despite their years and even decades of doing what these radical pro-vaxers are accusing them of not doing, which is putting public health and safety first. In contrast, these talkingheads, hospital leaders, and administrative professionals have never put themselves in the line of danger. And their insensitivity toward these hardworking community leaders is evidence of their being far removed from the reality that LPNs, CNAs, RNs, police officers, and emergency response teams have experienced on a daily basis, nonstop.

Those in agreement with the sentiments from the column I mentioned above are rendering our heroes to zeroes. Is this the reward they deserved? Were they set up only to be let down in the most horrific way? What about the families they have to feed, not to mention the other lives they will save if only they remained employed? By reducing our first responder and medical workforce in this manner, we are not saving more lives, but are putting ourselves at risk for the greatest public safety crisis we will ever know — and that is when no one responds to the call at all.

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