An email sent May 14 to all staff of the Norton Sound Health Corporation puts its 700 employees on notice that they are now required to submit to a COVID shot as a condition of employment.

Norton Sound Regional Hospital’s long term care facility.

Issued by CEO Angie Gorn, the email states that the new policy applies to all board members, employees, contractors, students and volunteers associated with the NSHC. Failure to submit to the experimental injection will result in termination of employment unless a medical exemption is approved by the Native corporation’s own medical director. There are no religious exemptions.

The policy was announced less than a month after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warned that employers who mandate COVID shots could be held liable for ensuing adverse reactions experienced by employees.

A tribally owned nonprofit health care organization, the NSHC was founded in 1970 to provide health care for the Inupiat, Siberian Yup’ik and Yu’pik people of Alaska’s Bering Strait region. It is governed by a 22-member board that oversees the Norton Sound Regional Hospital as well as 15 village clinics. About 72% of the corporation’s employees are Alaska Native.

Angie Gorn, CEO of NSHC

The email sent by Gorn acknowledges that the corporation has kept hospitalization rates low throughout the past year, while experiencing zero deaths. Regardless, the new policy mandating vaccines took effect May 17.

“All existing board members, employees, contractors, students, and volunteers will have 30 days to take the COVID-19 Vaccine and any CDC recommended Covid-19 Booster Vaccines moving forward,” Gorn states. “There will be no religious exemptions granted.”

She then clarifies that employees who haven’t received their COVID injections have until June 14 to show proof of their first dose.

“Any employee who remains unvaccinated by Monday, June 14, 2021, will be placed on unpaid admin leave for a period of 30 days,” Gorn continued. “During this wait period, NSHC will not pay for any housing, bonuses, reimbursements, or incidentals on behalf of the employee. Failure to comply with the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy after 30 days, will result in termination of employment (unless a medical exemption is granted).”

No court has ever upheld a mandate for an EUA vaccine.

The policy applies to new hires as well as any new or existing contractors, volunteers or students.

A flyer produced by the corporation to address concerns about COVID-19 shots includes a frequently asked questions section answered by NSHC Medical Director Dr. Mark Peterson.

It suggests that the rationale behind the mandatory vaccines is to achieve herd immunity.

“COVID-19 is not going away. It’s going to be around for years to come and will still be potentially deadly to those who get infected with it,” Peterson asserts. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against severe illness and death from COVID-19 and to prevent you from spreading it to others who are unvaccinated.”

While noting that the region is now 60% vaccinated Peterson goes on to claim that the non-vaxxed “continue to be at risk” despite Gorn’s acknowledgment that the region has experienced “zero deaths.”

While a number of businesses, including several in Alaska, are now coercing employees into taking COVID injections, they may be on thin legal ice since all COVID vaccines are still unapproved by the FDA and only authorized for Emergency Use Authorization. EUA products are by definition experimental and therefore people have a right to decline them, according to federal law. Lawsuits are already underway challenging mandatory vaccines for COVID.

In 2003, a federal court ruled that the U.S. military could not mandate EUA anthrax vaccines to soldiers. The court maintained that the government “cannot demand that members of the armed forces also serve as guinea pigs for experimental drugs. No court has ever upheld a mandate for an EUA vaccine.

In addition, the Nuremberg Code, which is the foundation of modern ethical medicine, states that no one may be coerced to participate in a medical experiment. Consent is “absolutely essential.”


  • Click here to contact NSHC Board of Directors.
  • Contact NSHC CEO Angie Gorn at (907) 434-1927 or by email at
  • Click here to learn more about the legal right to refuse COVID vaccines.

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Second Alaska Native corporation to fire employees who decline COVID shots

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.