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."
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.
A Utah mother claims the flu shot is responsible for the death of her healthy 19-year-old son.
Chandler Webb received his first ever flu vaccine on Oct. 15, the day before he fell into a coma.
A recent high school graduate, Webb was preparing to travel on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
His mother Lori Webb says he received a flu shot, a physical exam, and a tuberculosis skin test.
But 24 hours later he began vomiting and was admitted to a Salt Lake City hospital where he fell into a coma.
“Sicker than he has ever been in his life. He says he's never shook so hard his whole life. He had the worst headache, throw up, and he slept for about two and a half days and didn't eat anything during that time,” his mother told the Salt Lake Tribune.
After 28 days in the hospital, Chandler was taken off life support on Tuesday. Lori says the direct cause of his death was swelling of the brain.
"I’ve never been so scared in all my life to see my son go through so much," she said.
She says Chandler was never sick before the flu shot.
"We’re angry because we believe it’s the flu shot that [caused] it," she said.
Six neurologists at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray treated Chandler. They checked for everything from West Nile virus to Lyme disease without discovering the cause of his illness.
“They checked every virus, every fungus, ever tick, west nile they even checked for rabies,” said Webb. “And they can't find anything ... it was the most senseless, senseless, death.”
Webb declined an autopsy. A brain biopsy is pending and she believes that will be enough to determine cause of death.
“I hate this,” she said. “I hate that I have to bury my son.”
Utah Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko said the state has no record of anyone dying in Utah from the flu vaccine.
"Like with other medical procedures, there can be side effects and adverse reactions," he said. "In the vast majority of those cases the side effects are not very severe — soreness at the injection site, low fever, achiness. Occasionally, yes, there are more severe side effects from receiving the vaccine."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “The risk of a flu shot causing serious harm or death is extremely small. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. Almost all people who get influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it.”
Severe allergic reactions to the flu shot are more likely among people with a severe allergy to eggs.