An Arkansas woman says she was fired from her job for refusing to get vaccinated for the coronavirus.
According to the Washington Examiner, Samantha Wise, a mother of five, says she lost her job at a local marijuana dispensary after she made clear to her employer that she wouldn’t be receiving one of three vaccines currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fight against COVID-19.
“They actually did it — they really fired me — I didn’t think it was really going to happen,” Wise told a local news outlet, according to the Examiner.
“I would just rather not”
According to reports, Wise said her hesitancy to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus stems from a rocky history with medications and their side effects.
“I am always that 1 out of every 10 or so that has a bad reaction. I am that one — so, I would just rather not,” she told reporters with local NBC affiliate KARK. “I don’t have good reaction with a lot of medicine.”
Wise was reportedly let go from the staff roster at the Harvest Cannabis Dispensary in Conway, Arkansas back in March, a move that left her shocked. The facility distributes medical marijuana, which is the only type of the drug that is legal in Arkansas.
“I knew most everybody’s names that came in there,” Wise recalled to KARK. “I liked making people’s day. That’s my main thing in life is to just make people smile.”
“A number of factors”
In a statement after her firing made headlines, the dispensary’s executive director, Robbin Rahman, said all of the organization’s employees are required to get vaccinated because of the risk that they say COVID-19 poses to its clientele.
“Harvest’s employees encounter upwards of 500 patients per day, often serving them in a one-on-one encounter,” Rahman told KARK. “In other words, absent a targeted program, a medical marijuana dispensary like Harvest would pose a serious threat to the very people it is designed to help.”
Still, Rahman said Wise was “terminated based on a number of factors,” not just her choice to remain unvaccinated.
“Of course, for any employee that has provided notice of a medical or religious basis for not receiving the vaccine, Harvest will attempt to accommodate such employee to the extent possible,” Rahman said.
According to the latest reports from NPR, more than half of all American adults have now received at least one dose of a vaccine to prevent the coronavirus. Around “84 million, or about a third of all adults, are fully vaccinated,” NPR said last week.