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I just read the Associated Press story about a pregnant nurse who was fired from her job with a healthcare company for refusing a “flu shot” (influenza vaccine). According to the health news article, Dreonna Breton had suffered two miscarriages before this pregnancy, and was concerned about the health of her unborn baby. She offered to wear a mask in lieu of vaccination, but she was still fired on December 17, 2013.

Breton shared the fear of many others in her situation—she contended that “the immunizations may not be safe enough for pregnant women.”

The cautious words of a biology professor at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and research professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (who indicated that if his wife were pregnant, he wouldn’t want her to get vaccinated) prompted me to write an article on the subject (published on Vision.org). He studies the relation of maternal infections to both autism and schizophrenia, and his arguments against the vaccination of pregnant women gave me pause.

Of course it’s not as simple as “vaccination causes autism,” and there’s a strong outcry in the medical world against such a direct connection. However, recent research does show a strong connection between maternal infections (especially influenza) during the first half of pregnancy and increased risk of schizophrenia in the fetus. The infected mother’s immune system releases special proteins to fight the infection, and these cytokines (specifically interleukin-6) may have a negative effect on the neurological development of the unborn child.

So, then, is the answer to vaccinate all pregnant women? As the professor said, “And what does a vaccination do? It activates the immune system. That’s the point of vaccination.” So an activated immune system could trigger increased cytokines, which may in turn cause neurological difficulties in the baby.

You can read more about this topic here:

Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Vaccination Debate

Both the safety and the efficacy of vaccines are under question as well. I have been researching these topics lately, resulting in two blog posts for the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. But there is much that we do not understand. Although it appears that vaccines have been helpful in some cases, there have been many cases of disease and death that seem to be a result of vaccination, but it’s not usually provable. The long-term effects are still unknown, and each individual may react differently to immunization.

You can read what I wrote about the efficacy of vaccines here: 

Influenza Vaccines: Are They Effective?

and the safety of vaccines here:

Vaccines: Are They Safe?

Is it more risky to be vaccinated or is it more risky to reject vaccination, even if it means losing your job when you need it most? For one woman, the answer was clear.

Below is the Associated Press article that started this whole post.

Until next time~

Pregnant nurse fired after refusing flu shot

By Associated Press

Posted: December 28, 2013 – 8:30 pm ET
A pregnant woman who refused to get a flu shot due to her fear of miscarrying has been fired from her job with a healthcare company.Dreonna Breton worked as a registered nurse for Horizons Healthcare Services in central Pennsylvania. The company requires all personnel to get the influenza vaccine.

Breton contends the immunizations may not be safe enough for pregnant women. She suffered two miscarriages earlier this year, and doesn’t want to risk a third.

Company spokesman Alan Peterson says it’s unconscionable for a healthcare worker not to be immunized. He also says pregnant women are more susceptible to the flu.

Breton offered to wear a mask during flu season. But the 29-year-old was fired Dec. 17.