Bob Nevens hoped to retire at Houston Methodist, where the 47-year-old had served for a decade as director of corporate risk. Instead, Nevens was fired on April 29 after he refused to have a COVID-19 vaccine injected into his arm.
Nevens’ hospital in the Houston area was among the first in the nation to require the vaccine and remains one of a handful doing so. Houston Methodist set an early deadline for its 1,255 executives and managers and Nevens was one of only two managers who failed to step up. Other workers have until June 7 to comply.
Nevens has a list of concerns: the vaccines were made quickly, the FDA authorized them for emergency use, and the long-term side effects may not be known.
“I don’t want to take an experimental vaccine,” Nevens said. “We don’t know what it’s going to do to somebody 10 years from now.”
He is also convinced he has built-in immunity from contracting COVID-19 on a hiking trip with his wife in Hawaii in December 2019, about the time China revealed the first few cases in Wuhan. He has no evidence that he ever had the illness, however. An antibody test later came back negative; Nevens does not believe it.
“There’s no way that anybody could tell me what I had was the flu,” he said.