Dreonna Breton, a registered nurse, was fired from her job at Horizon Healthcare Services for refusing to get a flu shot, even though she is pregnant and provided the organization with two exempt documents from medical professionals.
Breton was ordered to receive the flu shot since she works as a health care provider; she could be exempted from the mandate for either religious or medical reasons, provided that she have notes from medical personnel explaining why she should be exempt. Breton, who is pregnant, read the fine print on the vaccine and determined that she did not want to jeopardize her pregnancy with the vaccine.
"Fluzone should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed," the fine print on the bottle of the vaccine read. That was enough to convince Breton, who had a history of miscarriages, to decide against the medication.
"It would be a false statement to say the flu vaccine is known to be safe during pregnancy," the 29-year-old R.N. 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."
Breton told her employer that she did not feel comfortable receiving the vaccine and was ordered to provide documentation that she should be exempt. She first went to her midwife, who gave her a note, but that was rejected by Horizon Healthcare Systems. Breton then went to another doctor, who wrote that "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 surgical mask while she worked, but again, that idea was rejected by the organization.
Carolyn Carlson, an R.N. and the president of Horizon, told The Patriot News that the flu shot was mandatory for employees because "it protects our patients, employees, and community from getting this potentially serious infection."