The vaccine mandate applied to professionals who have close contact with people – such as teachers, hospitality workers and hairdressers – aims to protect the wider community and reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus. However, a consequence has also been that a number of local professionals who are not vaccinated have sacrificed their careers. Hibiscus Matters spoke to a couple of these people, who talked with us on the understanding their names were not published.
This is not about the pros or cons of being vaccinated. It is about the impact and consequences for those individuals.
“I have been in teaching for 27 years and have been a qualified teacher for nearly 10 years. Being a teacher is part of who I am.
Never did I imagine that I would have my ability to teach stripped from me because of a health requirement. The gravity of knowing that I had no way out, that there were no alternatives, sent me into a spiral of deep depression.
I became a teacher to care for and nurture future generations. We empower children to make their own choices, reason and above all respect and love who they are. I teach that to children, yet, as an adult, the mandates make me feel disempowered. I was not ready for the impact that this would have on my wellbeing. Losing my career that I loved so much pushed me to the point of utter despair and hopelessness. I hoped that something would change, but it only got worse.
I left my job early on before the mandates took effect. I have a wonderful, supportive employer and we mutually agreed that, to stop potential bad publicity in the unfortunate event of a case in our centre, I would stay away. I value and care about my team of teachers, the children and my employer and didn’t want to be a burden.
Since then, I have been applying for as many jobs as I can. My teaching skills are transferable in a lot of roles.
At this stage, my priority has been working on my mental health as it has taken a big hit. I am working on being okay with what has happened and what I have lost. I won’t let this defeat me. I have a lot to offer and I can do good elsewhere.”
“I have over 10 years experience in hairdressing. My career has opened so many doors in my life – I met the love of my life through the hair industry and gained many clients who have become friends. Hairdressing pushed me out of my comfort zone.
My partner and I could never have foreseen the impact that deciding not to get vaccinated has had on our lives. I was a valued asset to the salon I worked at. The mandate led the owner to let me go. I was jobless and went into anxiety and depression. My own family was unsure why I had made that choice. I lost purpose. Through the darkness I was overwhelmed with the love and support of my partner, my sisters and close friends.
My personal health decision was more a blessing than a curse. Countless messages flowed from loyal clients. All showed love and support, to the point that they still want me as their hairdresser. I was honoured.
It has been hard but I wouldn’t change a thing. From all those challenges I faced, I grew and learnt lessons and I have become a stronger, more grateful person.”