SUPPORT BRAVE HEALTHCARE STUDENTS TO TAKE A COURT ACTION TO CHALLENGE THE DISCRIMINATORY VACCINE PASS POLICY IMPOSED BY TRINITY COLLEGE
Healthcare students have been told by Trinity College that they cannot complete their clinical placement unless they provide proof of vaccination.
We are in the middle of our degrees. Now, we are being told that we must either prove that we have received a Covid-19 vaccine or risk bidding farewell to our career dreams, degrees, and all the hard work and savings already invested in them.
We are Bríd Ní Ghoibín and Inés Lonergan, two second year healthcare students training as a midwife and physiotherapist respectively, at Trinity College Dublin.
Patients’ health and well-being is at the centre of our professions and will always come first. However, the narrative that the HSE and universities have adopted - that the unvaccinated are a danger to those who are vaccinated - is simply not accurate. A recent study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal has found that those vaccinated against COVID-19 are just as likely to transmit the disease as their unvaccinated counterparts.¹
In correspondence with the HSE, we have offered to take part in routine testing for COVID-19, to wear additional PPE beyond what is required, and are open to whatever other non-pharmaceutical measures that could help mitigate any risk posed to patients but to no avail. Professor Martin Cormican, Clinical Lead of the HSE’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control team, has refused to meet with students to discuss measures to ensure that unvaccinated students can proceed with placement safely.
Clinical placement is a core part of our training, without which we cannot qualify as a midwife or physiotherapist.We were told by our university that all options would be explored in order to facilitate us going on placement, only to be later given an ultimatum: take the vaccine or risk losing your career.
When we enrolled in our respective courses, we satisfied all criteria – including all required vaccinations – and set out with an expectation of being able to finish the degrees we had started. The goalposts have now been moved. Not because of the pandemic, but because our university and the HSE have adopted discriminatory policies which are not rooted in science and seek to exclude from education those who do not wish to receive a newly-developed vaccine for whatever personal reasons.
We contend that the mandate by HSE and university to disclose vaccination status against COVID-19 as a prerequisite to participation in core clinical placements is discriminatory, coercive and in contravention of Data Protection (GDPR) legislation. Students’ decision to accept or decline vaccination is a private matter and should be a personal choice, informed and free of coercion.
We intend to challenge these discriminatory and unjust policies at the High Court. This is the start of a journey. We wish to pave the way so that other students don’t have to endure the same inequality and maltreatment that we currently face.
Please consider donating to help us cover the costs associated with our legal action to challenge the divisive and unethical policies of the HSE and universities. We are counting on the support of the public to make this possible and to allow us to continue our training as essential healthcare workers.
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