LANCASTER, Pa. (WJZ)—A woman who lives just over the border in Pennsylvania is drawing national attention for her beliefs.
As Mike Schuh reports, when the pregnant nurse refused a flu shot, she was fired.
For the past five years, 29-year-old Dreonna Breton came to her nursing job at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pa.
This fall, the hospital required her to get a flu shot.
“It’s frustrating to me to be forced to do something that you’re not comfortable with,” Breton said.
The mother of a 19-month-old son, she has another baby on the way.
But, in the past year, she’s had two miscarriages and is now worried about complications.
“The known risks are low. I understand that. But there are still risks,” Breton said.
She offered to wear a mask, but refused the vaccine, and that wasn’t good enough.
She was told, “You didn’t provide a medical reason. Therefore, we are terminating you unless you get the flu vaccine,” Breton said.
Her views are counter to those of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which recommends the vaccine for pregnant women, saying: “Flu vaccination is an essential element of prenatal care. No study to date has shown an adverse consequence of flu vaccine in pregnant women or their offspring.”
A researcher at Vanderbilt agrees.
“Not only does the flu shot offer some protection to the pregnant woman, but there’s a bonus. The pregnant woman can pass some of that protection into her newborn baby,” the researcher said.
For nearly 20 years, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have encouraged health care workers to get the vaccine.
But since only 72 percent do so, hospitals are beginning to make a vaccination a requirement.
A statement from hospital reads: “Like our requirements for TB skin testing and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination as a condition of employment, mandatory flu immunization protects our patients, employees, and community from getting this potentially serious infection.”
“I’m not worried. I’m not worried because I know I did the right thing for me,” Breton said.
Breton says she has no intentions of taking legal action. She simply wants the company to reconsider its policy for vaccines for pregnant employees.
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