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Pregnant nurse fired for refusing to get flu vaccine, hospital stands by decision

Updated: Tuesday, December 31 2013, 04:43 AM CST
Reported by: Chris Papst

LANCASTER -- Pressure is mounting on a local health care provider after a pregnant nurse was fired for refusing to get a flu vaccine. But, despite the support, it doesn’t look like she will get her job back.
When Dreonna Breton found out she was pregnant in October, she vowed to do anything she could to protect the health of her baby -- even if it meant giving up her job. And now many people are lining up to support her decision. 

“We came to this decision together and not once have we looked back and regretted it,” said Breton. “We knew what might happen if we made this decision and we stand firm behind it.”

It’s now been a couple of weeks since Breton was fired from her nursing job at Horizon Healthcare Services, part of Lancaster General Health, for refusing a flu vaccine. And in that time her resolve has only grown stronger with all her support. 

“It’s been overwhelming,” she said. 

 Since has was fired, Breton has received numerous letters and phone calls from family, friends, and strangers offering help. 

“We’ve had people, even today, stop by the house to say they saw the story and we’re in support of you,” added Breton.

For patient safety, Horizon mandates its nurses get a flu vaccine. It’s part of a growing national trend which it adopted two years ago. CBS 21 received this statement:   

“Mandatory flu immunization protects our patients, employees, and community from getting this potentially serious infection. For our employees who are pregnant, we believe that the flu vaccine provides a safe and effective way of protecting a mother and her unborn child from a serious illness,” Carolyn Carlson, RN, President, Horizon Healthcare Services, said.

“But the unknowns of a flu vaccine were more risky for me. It was more overwhelming for me to put my body through that and potentially harm my child,” stated Breton. “It’s frustrating for me to be forced to do something that you’re not comfortable with, to do something to put your body at risk, for any potential side-effect.”

Breton had two miscarriages earlier this year and she wasn’t willing to take any chances on this pregnancy. And while she doesn’t think it will happen, if she were offered her job back, she would take it. Pregnant nurse fired for refusing to get flu vaccine, hospital stands by decision

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