Bend nurses facing termination at St. Charles over COVID-19 vaccine refusal – KTVZ

‘Natural immunity’ effectiveness vs. vaccine still being debated

Three nurses who work at St. Charles Health System in Bend were all denied religious exemptions for the mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. They’ll be terminated, if they refuse to get a COVID vaccination.

Saren Love has been a medical floor nurse for nearly five years. Kari Derenzio is a nurse on the Progressive Care Unit and has worked for St. Charles for two and a half years. Natalie Strong has been a CNA for 5 years.

“I would go on an unpaid leave of absence starting on the 18th of October to be reviewed every thirty days,” Love said. “I will lose my benefits on October 31st. I no longer have a position. When the mandate expires which is on January 2022, I will be terminated.”

All three nurses said they’ve already had Covid-19 and have since built a natural immunity.

“We got it and we recovered, and we’re still here doing the same job,” Strong said.

Love believes there isn’t enough focus on the underlying health conditions that put people at higher risk of contracting covid such as obesity, congestive heart failure, diabetes and other medical health concerns.

“We’re saying the one size fits all assembly line ideology of vaccination is not necessarily  the best thing for our patients. These conversations do need to exist,” Love said.

Derienzo is a 3rd generation nurse. Both her mom and grandmother have worked for St. Charles Health System for more than 20 years.

They chose to get vaccinated, but Derienzo stands firm that it conflicts with her religious beliefs and that the government is over-stepping it’s power.

“I don’t think your employer should hold your job over your head because of your vaccination status,” Derenzio said.

St. Charles hasn’t said how many nurses applied for an exemption but does say about ninety percent are vaccinated. 

She told NewsChannel21 she and her husband have already had positive COVID tests and thus have a natural immunity, though the effectiveness of natural immunity vs. the vaccine is still a matter of scientific debate, as a report Thursday from NBC News notes.

Bola Gbadebo is speaking with the woman on Thursday. Her report is coming up on Fox @ 4.