A pregnant woman was fired for refusing to receive a flu vaccine that she thought could potentially harm her unborn child. The woman is 29-year-old Dreonna Breton, a nurse working at Horizon Healthcare Services.
Breton was told that all employees were required to get the flu shot to prevent the spread of the flu. The label for Fluzone, the popular flu vaccine at issue, cautions that “[it] should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.” Breton said she already suffered from two miscarriages and came to the decision with her family that it was better to avoid the vaccine and the unknown potential pregnancy complications that came with it.
Breton even submitted letters from her primary care physician and obstetrician in support of her decision, but Horizon told her she had until December 17 to get the vaccine or that she would be fired. She even offered to wear a face mask at work. Reportedly, other Horizon Healthcare Service employees were allowed to wear face masks when exempted for religious reasons.
Controversy surrounding safety of flu shot for pregnant women
A representative for SanofiPasteur, the manufacturer of Fluzone, stated that because clinical studies did not include pregnant women in their original research there is no direct statement from any manufacturers of flu shots that can claim they are safe for pregnant women.
The Centers for Disease Control does advise pregnant women to get the shot. But due to lack of testing on anyone pregnant, coupled with the fact that her midwife recommended that she not get the vaccine, it seems reasonable that the mother of one would refuse.
No plans for legal action
Breton told a CNN affiliate that she has no plans to sue but she does hope that the company decides to reevaluate their policy regarding vaccines and pregnant women.
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