Nurse Dreonna Breton was fired from her job at Horizon Healthcare Services after refusing a mandatory flu shot.
Breton is pregnant and has a history of miscarriages. As such, she was concerned over possible side effects of the flu shot. According to The Patriot News, she was alarmed by notifications contained in the packaging of a popular flu vaccine such as, "Fluzone should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed."
Fine print also indicates it is unknown whether the flu vaccine can harm an unborn child.
"It would be a false statement to say the flu vaccine is known to be safe during pregnancy," Breton told The Patriot News. "I have lost my job, one that I love and am good at, because I chose to do what I believe is best for my baby."
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Horizon Healthcare Services, which is jointly owned by Lancaster General Health, Reading Health System, PinnacleHealth System and Penn State Hershey, has a mandatory policy that all employees are to be vaccinated, aside from religious and medical exceptions.
Dreonna Breton did provide a doctor's note which described her history of miscarriage. The doctor wrote, "In my view getting the flu shot would significantly and negatively impact her health because of the increased fear and anxiety it would create as well as the emotional impact it could cause if she does miscarry again."
Breton even offered to wear a mask during work, something some health care organizations allow employees to do if they do not receive a flu shot.
Carolyn Carlson, a registered nurse and the president of Horizon Healthcare Services, said in an email to The Patriot News that all requests for exemptions are reviewed by a committee of doctors and that the flu vaccination is a "condition of employment" because it "protects our patients, employees, and community from getting this potentially serious infection."
Upon review, Horizon Healthcare Services found no medical reason for the refusal by Dreonna Breton to receive the flu shot, and so she was fired, WGAL reports.
Donna Cary, a spokeswoman for the Fluzone brand, commented to The Patriot News that results of clinical studies involving pregnant women were not included in the research presented decades ago when the flu vaccine received government approval. Due to that reason, manufacturers cannot state if it is in fact safe for pregnant women.
Breton stands by her decision.
"I do believe I did the right thing, and the right outcome will happen," she said to WGAL.