Weeks after posting an emotional video about being unvaccinated against COVID-19, Sam Frost has announced that she will be 'written out temporarily' on Home and Away.
The former Bachelorette star took to Instagram to say that she will not be quitting the long-running TV soap but her character will instead be 'going off-screen' for a few weeks.
'Written out temporarily'
Sam, who plays Jasmine on the show, explained that she would not be 'fully vaxxed' until the end of February 2022 at the latest, after she undergoes an undisclosed 'medical procedure' the previous month.
"I'm not leaving Home and Away," she wrote. "I've got a medical procedure booked in for January. So I won't be fully vaxxed until mid-late February.
"I will be written out temporarily, Jazzy is going on an off-screen adventure for a few weeks... But I'll be back."
According to the Herald Sun, an email sent out to Channel 7 staff claimed the network will "only engage fully vaccinated presenters, cast and crew" from January next year.
Sam said that she had been able to negotiate with her 'amazing' bosses and come up with a plan that 'works for everyone'.
She added, "My bosses are amazing, we've been in open communication for months. Very grateful we were able to make a plan that works for everyone."
Sam has only recently re-emerged on social media after deactivating her Instagram account for two weeks due to the swift backlash to her teary video where she admitted to not having the Covid vaccine.
She was heavily criticised for the clip, where she opened up about the "harsh judgement" and "segregation" people who aren’t vaccinated are experiencing and how it's impacting her mental health.
In an Instagram Story, Sam thanked her followers the "the enormous amount of support and love over the past few weeks", saying she received "thousands and thousands of beautiful messages and emails".
"Incredibly grateful for my friends, family and work colleagues who held my hand through the storm and loved me unconditionally," Sam wrote.
She finished with the line: "Kindness always wins."
The former Bachelorette star also uploaded a picture of her newly highlighted hair to her Instagram grid with the caption "freshhhh" alongside Home And Away’s makeup artist, Ella Jean.
Sam's video: 'Hard time' to be unvaccinated
Sam posted the now-deleted video on October 9, ahead of NSW's 'Freedom Day' when lockdown restrictions would be eased for fully vaccinated residents only.
"I was really hesitant about doing a video or even speaking up about this sort of thing, but I feel like it's getting to a point now in the world where there is a lot of segregation," she began.
"There’s a lot of harsh judgement and opinions being thrown around a lot and it's taking its toll on my mental health for sure, and I know people around me are struggling, particularly if they're on the side that they don't want to get vaccinated for whatever reason."
Sam, who has over 500k followers on Instagram, explained that she spoke to her doctor and her psychologist when deciding to forgo the jab but will keep her reasons private.
"I want to tell those people that feel like they’re getting separated from society – well, I’m not vaccinated, and there’s a reason why I’m not, I’ve spoken to my doctor and my psychologist about it, and I’m going to keep it private," she said.
"It's a really hard time to be in society right now and you feel like you’re less of a human and you feel like people judge you," she continued.
"And you're too scared to talk about your opinion or talk about your feelings, and part of you wants to go, ‘Well it’s none of your damn business why I’m not!’.
"It's going to be a really hard time when vaccinated people are allowed out to do things and go to restaurants because I've made a choice."
Sam also said she’s been struggling a lot with her mental health and it’s important for her to speak out as the wellbeing of others is her “biggest concern”.
“What I wish leadership would look like in this country and what I wish employers would say to their employees is ‘you still matter and you are valued and you are not less intelligent or worthy or anything because you've made a choice about your body’,” she said.
“I wish there were more people that made us feel like we were less alone.”
Sam ended the four and a half minute video acknowledging that she “could get into trouble” for what she’s said but hopes that it helps people who are in the same position as her.
“I hope that this segregation disappears and people treat each other like human beings with kindness and compassion and empathy. I really hope that happens soon.”
Backlash from Bachie stars
Fellow Bachelor star Abbie Chatfield, who has been a staunch advocate of the vaccine, took to her Instagram account to write:
"So brave to “come out” as putting yourself as an individual above your community because you listen to misinformation. Another reality star bites the dust," she wrote.
Bachelor star Matt Agnew also took to his social account to write: "Sam Frost has opened up with a lengthy monologue about being unvaccinated.
"I don’t want to add to the pile on. What I do want to do is just discuss and challenge a few of the points that were put forward."
"There are NOT a lot of different reasons why someone shouldn’t be getting vaccinated. There is one reason: medical. And that is a rather broad reason too. It encompasses many things including immunocompromised individuals, people that may experience anaphylaxis to particular components of the vaccines, and (in the case of *live* vaccines) pregnant women."
He also called out Sam's "appeal to show compassion and empathy was made, while displaying none of those characteristics by choosing to put the lives of those who *can not* get vaccinated at risk. Anti-vaxxers often skip this step. You are affecting others."
Matt touched on Sam's use of the word "segregation" in her video, calling it "inappropriate considering the historical significance of the word. It should not be used haphazardly when it carries such immense weight and meaning to others."
The former Bachelor said that due to Sam's social media presence "there comes a social and moral obligation".
"Misinformation is a hugely problematic issue, and the unregulated proliferation of information through people with large social media followings is a large contributor to that," he wrote.
Presenter and comedian Em Rusciano took to Twitter to write: "Watching her tearfully speak about “segregation” because she chooses not to get vaccinated and being called “brave” by her followers is taking me to a level of “what the f***” I didn’t know was possible."
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