A Letter to Bring Back Normal

Have you weighed up the pros and cons of the Covid-19 vaccination program and decided not to partake at this time?  

Do you feel that, at a minimum, employment-coerced vaccinations are coming?  

This is where myself and my wife are at present and, based upon the events of the past year, and the now regular stories in the news, we can’t help but feel it’s on the cards at some point in the not-too-distant future – I call this “mandate creep”. 

I appreciate that it’s already past this point for some; agency nurses in certain roles are not being accepted for further work without “vaccinated” status. Anecdotally, I have heard of some retailers and some multinationals requesting that employees get vaccinated, which of course fuels the mandate creep. Although both myself [financial services multinational] and my wife [nurse] have been asked/advised to get a Covid-19 vaccination, neither of us have been told that our vaccination status will impact our jobs at this time.  

So why do we still feel a mandate creep? 

For me, many major players in the industry have mandated the vaccination for employees returning to the office in the US and UK, which makes us feel like it’s only a matter of time before something similar arrives here in Ireland. I have also heard talk in the media of the potential for pay cuts for vaccine defiant and having to work from home on a permanent basis. The suspicion is that this looks like trial-ballooning on the part of the authorities.  

My employer regularly sends (indirect) emails encouraging/advising employees to get vaccinated. Additionally, there is also the assumption amongst those vocal on these calls that everyone accepts the one narrative position that all should be vaccinated.  

For my nurse wife, she is one of only four of the “wait-and-see” brigade. She was auto-enrolled, against her wishes, and received a text message from the HSE with the date and time of her vaccination appointment. The chatter of redeployment away from frontline services is also constant (and, being instigated gradually) and her colleagues have openly referred to those showing hesitancy as “anti-vaxxers”. The feeling here is that a mandated vaccination for frontline staff would be an easy sell to the country as a whole. 

What have the consequences of this “mandate creep” been for us? 

The main consequence of this has been anxiety. With every article relating to vaccine mandates, with each new pronouncement from cabinet regarding the “vaccine-hesitant”, the “hold-outs”, our stress levels rise. We can’t help but feel them coming for us in one way or another.  

Due to our wait-and-see approach, we have been forced to consider what the ultimate price could be. 

Neither of us wish to leave jobs we love (which, of course, feed our family and pay the bills) but what else could we possibly do should vaccines be mandated and we continue to prefer to hold off for now? This has been a stressful time and there have been very difficult conversations (and arguments) had in respect of our future and that of our children, should mandates come into force with either of our employers. Not in a million years would any rational couple be expecting to have such conversations. 

What have we done in response? 

First off, we don’t talk about it around the kids and we try and keep our stress to ourselves in this regard.  

In preparation for the possibility of mandates in work, we have tried to make ourselves aware of our rights in respect of mandatory vaccinations, using whatever resources we could find.  

Bring Back Normal, both the website and the Telegram1 channel, have been very helpful in this regard, as has Amhain.ie and Citizens Information2.  

There are many angles one could follow with some listed below:  

  • legal (not part of work contract), 
  • quasi-legal (Nuremberg code re informed consent3),  
  • constitutional (bodily integrity4),  
  • ethical/moral (fetal cell lines5

We want to remain non-confrontational and so hope for resolution before it becomes more formal but we believe that being prepared is key so that we are not rushed and flustered should these events come to pass. 

If you are having a similar experience, don’t fret, you are not alone. Perhaps, with the rollout of booster vaccines, the mandate will become obsolete due to its unenforceability.  

That said, I suggest you keep yourselves informed and link-in with others going through similar experiences with Bring Back Normal’s Telegram channel being an excellent source of balanced information and positive advice.  

Be prepared. 

1 https://t.me/BringBackNormal

2 Your employment rights during COVID-19 (citizensinformation.ie)

3 Nuremberg Code Establishes the Principle of Informed Consent | Encyclopedia.com 

4 Fundamental rights under the Irish Constitution (citizensinformation.ie)

5 https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/you-asked-we-answered-do-the-Covid-19-vaccines-contain-aborted-fetal-cells