A registered nurse who belongs to a church that rejects all vaccines in favor of spinal adjustments and who says the antibodies she developed after contracting Covid-19 are far stronger than any "products advertised as COVID-19 vaccines" is suing Boston Medical Center for firing her last last year when she refused to get vaccinated.
In her suit, filed today in US District Court in Boston, Tara Harmon of Scituate is seeking damages, including for emotional distress, for the alleged violation of her Constitutional right to freedom of religion. A number of Mass General Brigham employees filed a similar suit last year.
Harmon says BMC could have made reasonable accommodations to let her keep her job last year rather than trying to force her to get vaccinated under a policy the hospital announced in July. Harmon, who says she had been employed as a BMC nurse since 2000, was a cardivascular nurse re-assigned to the emergency department at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
Her legal complaint starts with a contention that the vaccines don't prevent disease and that, in any case, she had a bolstered immune system:
At all material times, Defendant knew or should have known that the products advertised as “COVID-19 vaccines” do not stop recipients from contracting and transmitting COVID-19.
Plaintiff recovered from COVID-19 and has a degree of immunity against the disease that exceeds any temporary protection conferred by the products advertised as “COVID-19 vaccines.” Plaintiff had been part of a BMC-funded study of frontline nurses that showed that Plaintiff had COVID-19 antibodies. Defendant was aware of these facts when it imposed the injection as a condition of continued employment and when it terminated Plaintiff’s employment.
She alleges the fact that people who get shots can still contract Covid-19 proves the vaccines are useless; her complaint does not, however, attempt to dispute CDC statments that the vaccine lessens the severity of illness even in people who contract it and reduces the risks of death or long-term illness.
But in any case, she continues, making her get a shot violates her religious rights, because she is a member of "the Church of Universal Wisdom," possibly meaning the Congregation of Universal Wisdom, which disdains traditional medicine, in particular vaccines, because "the laying on of hands to the vertebrae shall be the sole means of maintaining the LIFE FORCE through Universal Wisdom." Vaccines, the group claims, are "sacrilege," as are skin tests for tuberculosis.
Harmon's complaint alleges that:
Accommodating Plaintiff’s sincerely held religious observance, practice, and beliefs that prohibit her from being injected with the products advertised as COVID-19 vaccines would not have caused Defendant undue hardship.
Defendant failed to engage with Plaintiff in an interactive process in efforts to reasonably accommodate her religious beliefs that prohibit her from receiving the products advertised as COVID-19 vaccines.