Colorado nurse 'heartbroken' over losing job after refusing COVID vaccination

Colorado mandated COVID vaccine for workers at 3,800 facilities

A Colorado nurse told Fox & Friends Wednesday she was fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Destiny Carpenter said her last shift was on Sept. 13 at Colorado Canyons Hospital after she was informed she would have to get vaccinated by the end of the month. 

Carpenter said her boss approached her earlier this month, in front of a patient, asking if she planned to get the vaccine. She said he laughed at her in front of the patient and left after she said she was not planning to get the shot.

Bothered by the reaction, Carpenter explained she sent him an email to tell him his reaction was inappropriate but did not hear back. Carpenter said she followed up with an email to the human resources department.

"And H.R. basically told me that because I stated that I wasn’t going to be getting the vaccine that my boss did not owe it to me to write me back in an email and I shortly after that went to log back into my email for a class that I had signed up for under the hospital, and my account had been deactivated and when I called H.R., they basically told me that I am voluntarily resigning and I explained to them that that wasn’t the case at all, they were firing me for not getting the vaccine," she told host Ainsley Earhardt, adding she did not receive a letter of recommendation after five years at the hospital. 

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Nurses nationwide could face termination as vaccine mandates take effect in hospitals. The Colorado Board of Health voted in an emergency session last month to mandate the vaccine for health care workers at about 3,800 licensed facilities across the state by the end of October.

"The new vaccine mandate applies to staff and contractors who interact with patients or clients in assisted living homes, nursing homes, hospitals, hospices, community clinics, and a variety of other health care settings that are regulated by the board. The mandate does not apply to individual practitioners, doctors’ offices, or urgent care centers," the Denver Post reported.

The board implemented the temporary emergency rule on a 6-1 vote after Gov. Jared Polis on Aug. 17 requested that it consider an immediate vaccine mandate.

Carpenter said she is "heartbroken" over leaving her nursing job. 

"I know in my heart that I’m a great nurse. I alone at our hospital have been nominated for the Daisy Award three times since I have been there," Carpenter said.

"And other people see it, too. And I went specifically to work at the smaller hospital to not feel like another number and I can tell you leaving there I definitely feel like another number after the way that they have handled all of this and I’m heartbroken by it."

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President Biden made a plea to unvaccinated Americans a few days ago, urging them to "do the right thing" and get a shot to protect themselves against COVID-19, hours after the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defied a vote from her advisory panel, which had recommended not to roll out booster shots to younger frontline workers.

The president, from the White House, said some Americans' refusal to get vaccinated "has cost all of us."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a third booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID vaccine for eligible individuals. The CDC this week announced eligible individuals included those who received their second dose of the vaccine six months ago, those over the age of 65, those over the age of 18 with an underlying health condition – and frontline workers at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure due to their profession. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky late Thursday endorsed the Pfizer booster shot for younger at-risk workers, which was seen as a rare break from the agency's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices panel.

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.