Pregnant Woman Fired Because She Refused Flu Shot

A pregnant nurse has been fired because she refused to have a mandatory flu shot. Dreonna Breton, who learned she was pregnant one month before her employer, Horizon Healthcare Services, compelled employees to get the flu shot, says she was worried about the side effects to her fetus and refused. So she was fired. What's really crazy is that she claims her former company allows people to refuse the shot on religious grounds.

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Breton told the Daily Mail:

I honestly didn't think it was going to be a problem but I was immediately met with the resistance that if I didn't take the vaccine by the November 15 deadline I would be terminated.

It's understandable that hospitals and health care centers want their employees, who are coming into contact with immune-weakened people, to have the shot. But Breton decided that the shot could be dangerous after getting advice from her midwife. She says:

[My midwife] wrote me a letter explaining that the vaccines have not been tested on pregnant women and because I have had previous miscarriages she didn't feel comfortable me having it.

Breton had already had two miscarriages and didn't want to risk endangering the baby. She also says she has taken care of patients who had "become paralyzed" after having the shot. She says:

If that can happen to a full grown person who knows what can happen to a growing fetus.

She got a note from a doctor recommending that she skip the shot. But instead of understanding, Breton's employer reportedly gave her a termination letter! Right before Christmas. And Breton says she is the breadwinner of her family. Talk about Grinchy!

Breton is mostly irked because she says that her employer lets people refuse the shot on religious grounds but not on pregnancy grounds.

Breton told the Daily Mail:

It is frustrating that someone can say "religiously I can't do this" but I can say I'm not comfortable about this for serious medical reasons and I lose my job.

Pennsylvania does not have an exemption on religious grounds for hospital employees who are mandated to have the flu shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so it's unclear if what Breton says is accurate. Horizon Healthcare Services did not return calls for comment.

But if so, I have to agree that this seems wrong. The CDC and American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend the flu shot for most pregnant women, but if a flu shot can be dispensed with because someone believes this goes against the teachings of his or her religion, the clearly the shot isn't THAT mandatory.

How bizarre that God (or whoever or whatever) gets the last say -- but not the person getting the shot!

 

Image via USACE Europe District/Flickr

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