“I am a nursing leader with very nearly 30 years of experience,” one typical posting on Gab’s “No Vax Mandate” jobs board reads. “I am facing termination in the next 3 weeks due to not taking the jab.”
“I’m willing to drive to any of the surrounding towns for work,” writes another Texas nurse, who says she worked for 23 years in labor and delivery as well as oncology, on the same board. “Preferably not Austin though.”
“Chased out of my ‘essential work’ this week in CO due to unlawful mandate,” reads a third post, from a surgeon’s assistant. “Stay strong,” they add. “The only reward in this life is in doing the right thing, even when it’s hard.”
As a growing number of workplaces choose to require their employees to be vaccinated, another cottage industry is beginning to spring up: anti-vaccine job boards, filled with a large number of job seekers and a far smaller number of workplaces willing to accept unvaccinated employees. (Some of the workers on the boards are expressing opposition to being vaccinated in the most florid terms: “I morally oppose the emerging world order of globalized secular liberalism vying to radically transform our societies into an image of its own making opposed to Christ our King,” wrote one Gab user, who said he works in banking in Southern California.)
And while there are job seekers from a variety of industries represented on these boards, one stands out: There is a noticeably large number of medical professionals on most of these boards, likely due to the fact that medical facilities have been far more likely to require vaccination. Their posts on these boards are a window into how staunchly anti-vaccine medical workers think of themselves: not as people who refused to take a basic precaution to protect their patients, but as persecuted freedom fighters.
The overwhelming majority of healthcare workers appear to be complying with requirements to get their shots at large hospital systems across the country. Still, there’s a small but growing pool of employees losing their jobs. New York State’s largest private hospital, Northwell Health, laid off 1,400 people who didn’t get at least one vaccine dose by October 4. In California, Kaiser Permanente suspended 2,000 people who weren’t fully vaccinated by the end of September deadline, saying they have until December 1 to get their shots before being fired. Other large healthcare systems in Colorado have set similar deadlines. In Detroit, 400 people quit Henry Ford Health System rather than be vaccinated. (As officials there were quick to point out, this was about 1 percent of the total workforce.)
The largest anti-vax job board at the moment is on the far-right social network Gab, with some 46,000 followers, but it’s been followed quickly by several more. At least four other explicitly anti-vaccine job boards have been created in recent months, and one pre-existing site, Red Balloon, has begun filling with postings for jobs that promise they won’t require vaccination. (Red Balloon bills itself as a jobs board to connect “employers who value freedom with employees who value it too,” adding, “We envision a world beyond cancel culture, where employees are free to work … without fear that they will find themselves on the wrong side of their employer’s politics.”)
Anti-vaccine groups are sensing an opportunity. The organizers of one small anti-vaccine conference, the Health Freedom Summit—which has hosted Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Del Bigtree, Sherri Tenpenny and other well-known anti-vax figures—recently sent out an email blast full of, as they put it, “job ideas for the newly unemployed.” It contained both links to the anti-vax job boards and a list of alternate career ideas that was probably not meant to be depressing, including “cryptocurrency education” and “anti-inflammatory meal planning.” Meanwhile, Robert F. Kennedy’s Children’s Health Defense conflated medical workers, cops, and firefighters to suggest that cities will face shortages of “critical workers” due to vaccine mandates. (There’s no evidence that there will be a shortage of medical workers. Resistance to vaccines has been notably higher among firefighters and law enforcement than some other professions, however, leading the Los Angeles Police Commission President this week to express anger at what he called “appalling” behavior and the fact that, as he put it, “the personnel of a department charged with public safety would willfully, intentionally and brazenly endanger the lives of those who they have taken an oath to protect.”)
Some of the medical workers seeking new jobs are inadvertently telling heartbreaking stories about the lengths to which people will go to adhere to baseless anti-vaccine ideas. “I’ve worked with the elderly for 15 years and have recently been told that I can’t work without the covid vaccine,” wrote one woman, a former home health aide, on a jobs board titled No Vax Mandate. “It was heartbreaking to my residents and to me. I take care of my mother and her disabled boyfriend at home, so going without a job is not an option. I am willing to work in my field, or in another. Whatever it takes.”
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