Pregnant Nurse Concerned About Miscarriage Fired for Refusing to Get a Flu Shot

fluThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advises all pregnant women to get the flu shot.

That’s because, according to their site, “Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from flu as well as hospitalizations and even death. Pregnant woman with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery.”

Nonetheless, it seems to me that getting a flu shot should be a personal choice and should be left up to the individual, not mandated by an employer. And yet, a 29-year-old Pennsylvania woman was fired for choosing not to get a flu shot.

Dreonna Breton is aware of the CDC recommendations but says she had read some research on how the vaccine can negatively affect pregnant women. After suffering three miscarriages, Breton says she wasn’t taking any chances. “For me, the potential risk was not worth it… I’m not gonna be the one percent of people that has a problem,” she told CNN.

Because her employers at Horizons Healthcare Services told employees the shot was mandatory, Breton was given a December 17th deadline to get the shot or lose her job. Breton submitted letters from her midwife and primary care doctors backing her choice, with her doctor telling the company her health would be damaged by the flu shot because of the anxiety it would cause.

Still, even though the company gives exemptions for religious or medical reasons they chose to fire Breton. Horizons Healthcare Services spokesman Alan Peterson told CNN affiliate WPVI that “it’s unconscionable for a health care worker not to be immunized and that pregnant women are more susceptible to the flu.”

I’m not sure I understand the rationale. The company doesn’t mind risking patients’ lives if someone has a religious reason but a pregnant woman worried about her child and a possible fourth miscarriage can’t be taken into consideration, even if she volunteered to wear a mask, as Breton did? No corporation should be able to dictate what someone should have done to their body.

What do you think? Should Breton be required to get the flu shot to keep her job? Does the fact that she is a health care worker play into your decision?

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