A three months pregnant woman in Pennsylvania was fired from her job as a home nurse because she refused to get a flu shot. Dreonna Breton insists, "It would be a false statement to say the flu vaccine is known to be safe during pregnancy. 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 worked for Horizon Healthcare Services, which has required all of its employees to get flu shots for the past few years. However, Breton has had two prior miscarriages and didn't want to take any chances.
According to The Patriot News, "Breton says she became alarmed by notifications such as this, contained in the packaging of a popular flu vaccine: "'Fluzone should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.' Similar statements accompany other brands. So do notifications that it's unknown whether flu vaccine can harm an unborn child."
However, both the Centers for Disease Control and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend pregnant women get flu shots. The CDC says, "Flu shots are a safe way to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from serious illness and complications of flu, like pneumonia. The flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years. Flu shots have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. It is very important for pregnant women to get the flu shot."
The ACOG states, "No study to date has shown an adverse consequence of inactivated influenza vaccine in pregnant women or their offspring. Vaccination early in the season and regardless of gestational age is optimal, but unvaccinated pregnant women should be immunized at any time during influenza season as long as the vaccine supply lasts."
Breton, who got a flu shot last year after "peer pressure," says she offered to wear a mask with patients, but her company refused the offer. She said, "The risks of the unknown were not worth it. If you've gone through the loss of babies before, you're on edge."
Dr. Alan Peterson of Lancaster General Health (which co-owns Horizon Healthcare Services) thinks Breton is gambling with her and her baby's health, "I would say she has a million times greater chance of of having a problem if she gets the disease rather than the vaccine."
Breton, who also has a 19-month-old son, says she doesn't have the money to sue, telling the Daily News, "God forbid we would pursue [a lawsuit] and lose; we'd lose a whole lot of money we don't have."