Americans fired for ignoring vaccine mandates are posting on GoFundMe to ask for money, and many say they don't regret it

·3 min read
Stephanie Grandy.
Stephanie Grandy, a registered nurse, lost her job in Maine for refusing to comply with her employer's vaccine mandate. Stephanie Grandy
  • Thousands of Americans have lost their jobs for refusing to comply with vaccine mandates.

  • Insider found two dozen GoFundMe posts from jobless people asking for help to pay the bills.

  • One told Insider she declined the vaccine on religious grounds, and she doesn't regret it.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Many Americans who say they were fired for ignoring their employers' vaccine mandates are turning to GoFundMe for help, but don't regret it.

President Joe Biden in September announced a sweeping vaccine mandate that would require everyone working for businesses with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly.

Though the rules have yet to be finalized or implemented, many employers imposed mandates sooner. In some placed, like Maine and California, state-level mandates have been active for weeks.

As a result, thousands of people have lost their jobs, from healthcare workers to airline staff. Those who feel the step was needed to boost vaccination rates welcomed the mandate, while others labeled it an authoritarian imposition.

But ignoring vaccine mandates has left many without an income. Insider identified more than two dozen GoFundMe pages set up by people asking for financial aid to pay their bills or to launch legal challenges against their former employers.

One of those asking for help is Stephanie Grandy, who worked as a registered nurse at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in Maine until her contract was terminated on August 31. Insider has verified Grandy's employment history and the hospital did not respond to Insider's request for comment for this story.

Grandy, a practising Messianic Jew, told Insider she declined the vaccine on religious and ethical grounds: "The Lord specifically told me not to take the shot," she said.

"Then we learned they used aborted fetal cell lines in the research and development of the drugs. We believe abortion is murder. It would be a sin to take these drugs into our bodies."

Fetal cell lines - cells grown using DNA from aborted fetuses - were used in the development of several mRNA vaccines, and during the production of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Many pro-life groups have shunned the vaccine as a result. The US-based Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council encourages followers to get vaccinated and notes that "not all vaccines are created from fetal cell lines."

While employed at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital Grandy had applied for a religious exemption under Maine law, but Gov. Janet Mills scrapped that exemption last month.

"Basically, you must get the shot, no exemptions," Grandy said of the new policy.

But she said she doesn't regret the decision, and said many of her colleagues only got the vaccine to keep their jobs.

"Nurses, CNAs [certified nursing assistants], housekeeping, and dietary staff I worked with did not want to take the shot, but most were forced to do so because there is literally no where else to work here," she said.

Insider has not been able to independently verify this claim, and has contacted Northern Light AR Gould for comment.

Others seeking help on GoFundMe include Kaimi Pelekai, who said he was fired as a captain from the Honolulu Fire Department after refusing to get vaccinated. The department did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

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