PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An 11-year Allegheny County employee is prepared to get fired for defying the county’s COVID-19 vaccination rules.

Shane Chesher from Natrona Heights tried to get an exemption from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, though his request was denied. He said he loves his job and worked through the pandemic but said this is a fight about choice.

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“I’m passionate, obviously,” Chesher told KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso. “I just feel it so deep in my soul that what I’m fighting for is a righteous fight.”

For 11 years, Chesher has worked for Allegheny County in Public Works, Traffic and most recently the Parks Department at Harrison Hills Park.

But on Wednesday, he is prepared to be fired for defying the county’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

“I was just informed today that termination is more than likely,” Chesher said. “Reality is kicking in, but I’m ready.”

The 34-year-old husband and father of two explained to KDKA why he won’t get the vaccine.

“The number one reason I’m doing this is for medical freedom, for you to have the right to choose and for me to have the right to choose,” Chesher said. “No employer, no Rich Fitzgerald, no dictator should be telling me what to do with my body.”

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Borrasso: What would you say is your biggest medical fear of taking the vaccine?
Chesher: Nobody knows the long-term effects.

Chesher filed for a religious exemption, but the county denied his request.

“I had two informative meetings,” Chesher said. “I was denied on Oct 29.”

He showed KDKA the letter, which cited “an undue hardship,” and “it would impair workplace safety, impair the safety of members of the public, among other factors.”

On Wednesday, he will learn his fate when he meets with Human Resources and his director.

Borrasso: How much has it meant to you to stand up for yourself?
Chesher: It means the world. It means more than the job, for sure. It means everything to me.

Chesher said he will keep fighting. He believes he is a hard worker and will find something else.

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“I love my park. I didn’t want this at all,” he said.

Jennifer Borrasso