A nurse who is pregnant refused the influenza vaccine, and that has led to her dismissal from her current employment. She stated that she feared the shot would cause a miscarriage, but knew that it was against the health center’s employment terms.
Horizon’s Healthcare Services sent a company-wide mandate stating that all employees were to have the flu shot. This year is said to be a strong one and health officials are urging people all over the country to receive the vaccine. One family in Texas told their story of how they were stuck indoors over the Christmas period because of the flu. The only person not to catch it was their four-year-old son, who had previously receive the shot.
However, that does not stop the concerns about miscarrying and other health risks. Dreonna Breton, the pregnant nurse, explained that she feared that the influenza vaccine would cause her to miscarry. She had already suffered two miscarriages during the year, and wanted to avoid anything that could cause a third. She explained that the things in the vaccine are still unknown, so she does not know what it could do to her baby.
The nurse did not just walk in and say she was not going to take it. She had her midwife write an official letter to recommend abstaining from the shot. Breton offered to wear a mask during the flu season instead. The company decided to refuse the request and made it clear that Breton would need to take the shot. When she refused the influenza vaccine, it led to the her dismissal.
A spokesperson for the company upheld the decisions. He stated that pregnant women are more susceptible to the flu, so should have the vaccine. He also said that a healthcare worker not being immunized is “unconscionable.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all health workers are vaccinated on a yearly basis.
It likely does not help that the season is said to be a stronger one. So far, the state of Texas has had 2,248 reports of flu-like symptoms out of 24,000 patients. In Gregg County alone, there has already been two fatalities from the H1N1 strain. It is important for people to be immunized for their own health, as well as the health of others.
New research may make some men question the decision to take the influenza vaccination. The study showed that women were more likely to be protected compared to men, due to a stronger response in the immune system. Previous literature shows that women have a better response generally when compared to men. Researchers believe that testosterone levels may be the link, as it suppresses inflammation. Women have less testosterone in their bodies. However, the real link is so far unknown and researchers do agree that it could also be genetic.
This does not help the case for the pregnant nurse, whose refusal to take the influenza vaccine led to her dismissal. Breton does not regret her decision, believing it was the best for her baby.
By Alexandria Ingham