The consequences of not complying with the vaccine mandate for Massachusetts state employees became real for one family in Wakefield Thursday.
Samantha Cila's beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccine cost the 29-year-old her dream job of being a state trooper. She was relieved of her duties Thursday after she refused to get the shot, defying the state's mandate.
Cila's mother, Cheryl, told NBC10 Boston that her daughter would not get the vaccine because of religious reasons. She applied for an exemption, but it was denied.
"My daughter still wants to do this. This is what she's meant to do. We are a police family," Cheryl Cila said.
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The trooper handed over the keys to her cruiser, her weapon and her badge. It was emotional because she was given the same badge as her father, Vincent Cila, who was killed in the line of duty in 2005.
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Her mother, who is vaccinated, said she tried to convince her daughter to get the shot instead of losing her job, but she respects her decision.
"It's their choice. It's their body. They should be able to wear their mask and be tested instead," Cheryl Cila said.
Despite lawsuits and grievances from the union, Gov. Charlie Baker's administration is not budging on the policy.
"It's a safety issue to assume it's OK and appropriate for public officials who deal with the public not to be vaccinated," Baker said when asked about the mandate back in September.
Samantha Cila is one of roughly 100 troopers who remain unvaccinated. They are slowly being notified and will face suspensions and series of hearings.
Troopers who do not comply with the mandate by the final disciplinary hearing will face termination.
"It's just surreal. I don't understand why they can't have options," Cheryl Cila said.
There are about 2,100 people working for the Massachusetts State Police, and about 95% were vaccinated as of last week, an official said.