A pregnant nurse has been fired for refusing to comply with her employer's mandatory flu vaccine requirement.
Dreonna Breton lost her job as a nurse at Horizons Healthcare Services in Lancaster, Penn., after she told her bosses she would not be getting a flu shot along with her fellow employees, reports CNN.
Breton, who is three months pregnant, told CNN she refused the shot because she was worried the vaccine might complicate her pregnancy. She said she has suffered multiple miscarriages in the past and isn't willing to take any chances this time around.
"I'm a healthy person," she told CNN Sunday. "I take care of my body. For me, the potential risk was not worth it. I'm not gonna be the one percent of people that has a problem."
After refusing the flu shot, Breton offered to wear a mask as an added precaution, but her offer was not enough for Horizons, which released the following statement to CBS:
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.
Horizon, which is jointly owned by Lancaster General Health, Reading Health System, PinnacleHealth System and Penn State Hershey, does allow some exemptions to its policy, but Breton did not qualify, according to NBC affiliate WGAL.
And while Breton insists that not enough is known about any potential risks associated with flu vaccines, Dr. Alan Peterson, the director of environmental and community medicine at Lancaster General Health, told PennLive that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any possible complications.
"I would say she has a million times greater chance of ... having a problem if she gets the disease rather than the vaccine," Peterson told the site, noting that pregnant women are at risk to the flu because pregnancy changes the expectant mother's immune system.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees with Peterson, advising pregnant women to be vaccinated as an "essential element of prenatal care," per CBS.
The Centers for Disease Control is also solidly in favor of vaccination, noting on its website that "[e]veryone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season" and singling out pregnant women as one of the groups for whom receiving the shot is "especially important."
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