Administrator On Indefinite Leave After Refusing Vaccine

Dunn’s Tom Ferguson, on indefinite leave without pay from his job as administrator for PruittHealth Hospice of Fayetteville, uses his free time to catch up on chores around his home. DAILY RECORD PHOTO/SHELAH OGLETREE

By Shelah Ogletree
Dunn Daily Record

Tom Ferguson of Dunn is in limbo. He wasn’t fired. He didn’t quit. Instead he is on an “indefinite leave of absence” with no work and no pay after he was denied a religious exemption to his company’s mandated COVID-19 vaccine policy. It all started with a memo…

When Ferguson received a memo from his employer, PruittHealth Hospice, on Aug. 9 saying the company was expanding its COVID-19 vaccination requirement policy, he read it with some concern.

The “Three Things You Need to Do” section stated: “1. Get vaccinated promptly; 2. Submit proof of vaccination; (and) 3. We will consider medical or religious exemptions on a case-by-case basis.”

Ferguson, who had already been submitting to the required testing and was negative, said he had heard of many adverse reactions to the vaccine, including paralysis and even death.

“As a contented member of the PruittHealth ‘family’ where ‘family makes us stronger,’ I decided to take option 3 and apply for a religious exemption,” he said.

A few days later on Aug. 25, Ferguson received a notification of a live, company-wide, town hall meeting to be held Aug. 27, so he jotted down a few questions to ask. Ferguson doesn’t have a copy of the comments he made during the town hall, but he did supply the Aug. 31 letter he says his immediate supervisor asked him to write in explanation of his town hall remarks.

“There was no intention on my part to call into question the integrity or sincerity of anyone within senior staff of PruittHealth,” he said in the letter. “I thought a town hall was a place for open discussion, but apparently, my act of questioning the safety of the vaccine upset the higher ups — my immediate supervisor drove to the Fayetteville office to tell me that I must write a letter explaining my actions so I did.”

Ferguson said he loves everything about his job, as well as the folks he works with, but he did not feel confident in the safety or effectiveness of what he considers an experimental vaccine.

om Ferguson shows off the freedom flag in his front yard. ‘The Gadsen flag was designed during the American Revolution, used by the Continental Marines,’ Ferguson said. ‘It is sometimes used as a symbol for constitutionalism and limited government, but it has always been a symbol of freedom from tyranny.’ DAILY RECORD PHOTO/SHELAH OGLETREE

“It’s not a conventional vaccine — a vaccine keeps a person from acquiring an illness,” he said. “This vaccine does not do that.”

He also took issue with the guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services being treated as law.

“Only Congress can make laws — the vaccine mandate is not a law,” Ferguson pointed out.

He said he may have eventually taken the COVID-19 vaccine once he felt it was proven safe, but then came Oct. 4. Ferguson went to work as usual that day, only to find out at 11 a.m. that he could not sign into his computer.

He said he called his boss, and the boss said he didn’t know what else for Tom to do but to go on home until they got it figured out. He hasn’t worked since.

“The fact that PruittHealth offered large, one-time bonus payouts to employees who were willing to take the jab never influenced me, in fact, it made me nervous to feel that I was being forced into an unwise decision, so I asked my pastor to sign my religious exemption form. As a Christian I have a God-given right to control what does or does not go into my own body,” Ferguson said.

Pastor Casey Strickland of Culbreth Memorial Pentecostal Church said, while he does not speak on behalf of his denomination, he spoke with Ferguson and understood his religious objections to taking the vaccine.

“Tom did not base his objection on the question of aborted fetal tissue used in in the production or testing of the COVID-19 vaccine or the references some people make to the Biblical mark of the beast,” Strickland said. “It’s my sincere belief that regardless if you are pro- or anti-vaccine, we should all be anti-mandate, pro-liberty. Although there is no verse that says ‘do not take the vaccine’ I think there are clear Biblical principles that affirm a person’s freedom in this situation.

“Primarily, it is outside of the government’s sphere of authority to dictate a personal health decision. Romans 13:1 says, ‘there is no authority except from God …’,” Strickland said. “Thus, governmental authority is delegated authority that is limited in scope. God has also granted a sphere of authority to each individual person.”

The God-given, freedom of choice objection Ferguson used in his appeal for religious exemption was officially denied on Oct. 12 by the PruittHealth Vaccine Exemption Appeal Committee. The email stated, “Unable to approve request. Free choice is not an acceptable argument for this purpose …”

Ferguson misses his PruittHealth family, but he says he does not regret his decision.

“I know I did the right thing,” he said. “Each person should have the autonomy to choose whether or not to take the COVID-19 vaccine without coercive bullying from the state or from anyone else.”


  1. Good move on the employer’s part. This person can not tell us what is in a hot dog, but he is an expert on the vaccine? His right to spread his germs and viruses stops where my air starts. And as a disabled Viet Nam veteran, I take strong exception to that insulting flag that he is displaying and that you, JoCo, chose to give a platform. Did you try to get a picture of his Trump yard sign and bumper stickers, too?

    • Thank you for your service Mr Brown. I agree with your thoughts on the flag too. US Flag Code States: The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature. If this attention seeker was a real patriot, he would know that.
      Life is about choices. He made one and his employer made one. Not sure why this is even a story.

    • “His right to spread his germs and viruses stops where my air starts.” Do you have any idea how that statement is? If you’re so afraid of germs, stay in your home.

    • “His right to spread his germs and viruses stops where my air starts.” This statement is not based in reality. You can’t qualify or quantify that statement. Nobody thinks they have a right to spread pathogens. Where does your air start? An arbitrary 6 feet or the whole world? A senseless statement.

  2. If you work in hospice or any healthcare, you should get the vaccine… simple.


    Someone who works in hospice and has been vaccinated (I got the booster, too!)

    • Why? The official purpose and efficacy of the vaccine is NOT to reduce or stop spread but to reduce hospitalization and death. Therefore, why should it be forced? Last time I checked, if you work in the medical field, you should understand informed consent. As long as somebody is competent they can refuse any medical treatment even if it results in their own death as long as it’s not suicide.

  3. You are witnessing the purge of all governments, corporations and medical sources of open minded thinkers that believe in freedom, now these entities are being absorbed into the deep state as we watch. When it is time for the horrible acts to begin, there will be no one left willing to say no. Mother’s, daughter’s, wive’s and sister’s you have voted your safety and sane world away. We will all be one in a brutal socialist-communist nation and no hearts will go untouched by the pain that will be inflicted.

  4. Since when do we not get a choice as to what is injected in our body? Why does the government think it’s ok to tell us what medical procedures we must have even if we don’t need it because of natural immunity? Why is it ok for the government to kill babies in order to make vaccines? Why do YOU think it’s ok to inject aborted fetal tissue into your body and tell me I have to as well? Why does the FDA want permission to withhold Pfizer covid vaccine data and information used to make the approval determination held until 2076? What is being hidden?

    We all have a right And obligation to say no to government overreach!

    If you are scared of my air then stay home because clearly the world at large is too scary for you! Flu, colds, other coronaviruses, norovirus, strep throat, stomach bugs, contagious ticks, disease carrying mosquitos they could all get you… and don’t forget the boogeyman!

  5. His right to decide what goes in his body or does not, hmm ok aren’t these the same people who feel like they can decide what a woman does with her body and aren’t they the same people that shun a person for taking a drink or smoking marijuana. Bunch of hypocrites he needs to be canned and then he can take his flag defacing double standards somewhere else.

  6. The irony— using scripture as a basis of opposing government controlling health care decisions, except when it comes to a woman’s uterus. I cant decide if it’s ignorance, stupidity, or hatefulness. Maybe all of the above. And corrupting Old Faithful is as unpatriotic as it gets. This guy is full of baloney.

    • That’s a straw man. It’s not a woman’s uterus and I think you know that. It’s about the separate human being inside it.

  7. I would like to point out that comments are blindly in favor of people losing their livelihoods for exercising informed medical consent to refuse an investigational vaccine that uses mRNA technology that never made it to human trials before the Emergency Use Authorization because it resulted in too many lab animal deaths. For a virus with a 99% survival rate that my family and I have already survived. The immune system develops immunity to multiple molecular parts of the whole virus particle but the vaccine only provides some immunity to the surface spike protein. It doesn’t even reduce or stop spread, perhaps only hospitalization and death with varying efficacy rates. These facts do not warrant mandating mass vaccination, it’s senseless. I have lived my life in this country up until now being able to pursue whatever I wanted to do without fear that the government or corporations would ever force me to do anything I didn’t want, but now it frightens me that is a very real possibility. My children and I are vaccinated with “normal” vaccines against crippling diseases developed with years of research, but now I might one day have to decide between a questionable “vaccine” for a disease I’ve already had and providing for my family. Those in favor of a mandate need to think long and hard about that. Thank goodness we have a decent chance of the courts striking down these overreaching abuses of totalitarian power. The government exists to protect rights.

Comments are closed.