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Restaurant Fires Waitress Who Refused Vaccine As She Wanted To Have A Baby Before Getting Injected

Restaurant Fires Waitress Who Refused Vaccine As She Wanted To Have A Baby Before Getting Injected

The woman said she feels there is still a lack of research about how the vaccine affects pregnant women which is why she's hesitating to get the shot.

Image Source: Getty Images/Luis Alvarez

Bonnie Jacobson of Brooklyn was a waitress at Red Hook Tavern who had expressed her concerns about the vaccine to her manager. Jacobson was reportedly trying to conceive and was worried about the effects the vaccine had on her fertility. According to NBC News, the manager understood her qualms initially, but days after that, she was fired for wanting to wait before she got the COVID-19 vaccine. Jacobson revealed that she and her husband had planned on having kids, but the pandemic put a stop to their plans because she lost her job in April last year. However, in August, she began working at the tavern and that's when she and her husband decided to try again. 



 

 

"I do support the vaccine. I'm not, as they say, an anti-vaxxer," Jacobson said in a phone interview on Wednesday, adding that she feels there is still a lack of research about how the vaccine affects pregnant women which is why she's hesitating to get the shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that "the actual risks of mRNA vaccines to the pregnant person and her fetus are unknown because these vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women." Safe to say that her fears are justified, aren't they? Jacobson, 34, said that her manager said she didn't have to get vaccinated, given her concerns.



 

 

However, things changed, and on Feb 12, 2021, workers received an email stating that vaccinations were mandatory. "Please be advised that we will require that all employees receive the vaccination," the email said. "This will be mandatory for all existing employees and any new hires. The exception to this policy will be if your own personal health or disability prohibits you from obtaining this vaccination. We encourage you to consult your healthcare professional to determine if getting a vaccine is right for you." Immediately, Jacobson emailed them back to let them know she wasn't ready to get vaccinated, just like they'd discussed earlier. 



 

 

"While I fully support the vaccine and understand its importance I do believe this is a very personal choice. I really hope this choice would not affect my employment at Red Hook Tavern," she wrote to her boss. "Also once there is more research to support that it does not affect fertility I would reconsider my position." Two days later, she was informed that she'd been fired from her job as a waitress. "It was really impersonal. I was honestly shocked," she said. "My gut reaction was to just say, 'OK. Fine, I'll get it. I need my job.' But that just didn't sit right with me. I was like, 'Actually, I don't think that's right. I don't think that's the choice I need to be making here.' "



 

 

While Jacobson is clear about not going back to the tavern, she hopes that other businesses will consider such extenuating circumstances before making vaccinations mandatory. "I think it's important for other business owners to see this and tread lightly, and take into more consideration their employees' feelings, especially if your employees have been working for you, putting themselves in danger throughout a pandemic," she said. Meanwhile, Red Hook Tavern's owner Billy Durney acknowledged that this was handled rather badly. He also admitted that this could have been dealt with in a much better way. 



 

 

“Once New York state allowed restaurant workers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to put a plan in place to keep our team and guests safe. No one has faced these challenges before and we made a decision that we thought would best protect everyone," he said in an emailed statement. "And, we now realize that we need to update our policy so it’s clear to our team how the process works and what we can do to support them. We’re making these changes immediately.” Hopefully, as Jacobson said, this will be the start of some new and updated policies for genuine cases like hers. 



 

 


 

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