Houston, TX – Michelle Fuentes was a nurse at Houston Methodist for 10 years before being forced to resign after refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccination.
“I knew that the date was looming over my head of me to get the vaccine and we were constantly being pressured and pressured,” Michelle Fuentes told FOX 26.
In April, Houston Methodist said it would require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine by June 7. Those who wished to get exemptions for medical or religious reasons had until May 3 to submit documentation to be considered for the exemption.
Fuentes voiced her concerns with her employer about the safety of the vaccine before turning in her two-weeks notice. “I just needed a little bit more time and little bit more research to be done,” Fuentes said to FOX 26.
She added she wants the clinical trials to be completed before she decides to get the vaccine or not, saying she is not anti-vaccine in general. The vaccine is not fully approved by the FDA as of yet, it is still approved for emergency use only.
A spokesperson for the hospital system says 90% of employees are vaccinated now, with only two managers having resigned so far.
Fuentes said her supervision encouraged her to get a religious exemption, and she responded “so, because I don’t have a religious reason and it’s a personal reason, my beliefs and my feelings aren’t as worthy as someone who has a religious reason?”
When Fuentes did not agree to “stay quiet” about the reason she resigned, she was not allowed to complete her final two weeks and was escorted out of the hospital.
Fuentes says she was prepared to wear masks at work and show lab results of COVID-19 antibodies since she’d recovered from the disease.
“I want to be known that I was a safe nurse when I worked at the height of the pandemic and volunteered to work and did work in the COVID unit. So, I was a safe nurse then, not vaccinated, and I was able to turn back around and work in my unit without being tested and without being vaccinated,” Fuentes told Fox 26.