A pregnant nurse from Central Pennsylvania is now out of a job for refusing a company mandated flu vaccine. Dreonna Breton, who is three months pregnant, said she suffered two miscarriages, and does not want to take any chances with this pregnancy.
"Any pharmaceutical has side effects, and we all know that," Breton said.
Breton's employer, Horizon Healthcare Services in Lancaster, Pa. requires that all workers be vaccinated, in order to protect patients and other employees from catching the flu. Breton offered to wear a mask instead, but Horizon insisted on the vaccine, and ultimately fired her for refusing.
A statement from Horizon Healthcare Services 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."
"It is frustrating," said Breton, "to be forced to do something, that you are not comfortable with."
William Schafner is a doctor of infectious disease at Vanderbilt University. He disagrees with Breton's decision. "Not only does the flu shot offer some protection to the pregnant woman, but there is a bonus -- the pregnant woman can pass some of that prevention into her newborn baby."
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees. It advises on its website that all pregnant women be vaccinated against the flu, calling the vaccine an "essential element of prenatal care." It also adds that "no study to date has shown an adverse consequence of flu vaccine in pregnant women or their offspring."
Breton, meanwhile, holds firm to her decision. "I know I am in the minority," she said.