Pregnant Nurse Refuses Flu Vaccine, Loses Job
January 2, 2014 by Ben Bullard
A Pennsylvania nurse faced a choice: Accept a mandatory flu vaccine in order to comply with workplace policy at Lancaster General Hospital, or decline the vaccine and be at ease that she wasnâ€™t doing anything to endanger her pregnancy — after two previous miscarriages.
She chose not to receive the vaccine, and she was fired. She told her employers she was happy to wear a mask while interacting with patients, but that was, for the hospital, an unacceptable alternative.
Dreonna Breton, 29, had worked at the hospital for five years. In the past year, sheâ€™s had two miscarriages, and she didnâ€™t want to introduce any complications into her current pregnancy by injecting her body with anything extraneous to her pregnancy until after her child is born.
â€śItâ€™s frustrating to me to be forced to do something that youâ€™re not comfortable with,â€ť Breton told CBS Baltimore. â€śThe known risks are low. I understand that. But there are still risks.â€ť
The American College of Obstetricians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend flu vaccinations for expecting mothers as a safe preventive for both mother and unborn child.
But Breton said having control over how she brought her baby to term is more important than jumping through hoops for the sake of her current job.
â€śIâ€™m not worried. Iâ€™m not worried because I know I did the right thing for me,â€ť she said.
She told the local TV station she has no plans to sue to win back her job. She just wants hospitals to think about how their blanket policies can affect the freedom of their employees — many of whom are medically trained — to make their own healthcare choices.