Waitress Who Refused Vaccine Over Fertility Fears Is Fired

Bonnie Jacobson, who's trying to get pregnant, says Brooklyn eatery let her go over her concerns
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2021 9:20 AM CST
Waitress Who Refused Vaccine Over Fertility Fears Is Fired
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/FTiare)

Though it says the COVID vaccine is "unlikely to pose a specific risk" to pregnant women, even the CDC doesn't know for sure yet about the actual risks. That's why waitress Bonnie Jacobson, who's been trying to start a family with her husband of 16 months, opted to hold off on getting inoculated until more is known about the effects on both fertility and fetus. The result of her decision? Her bosses at Brooklyn's Red Hook Tavern fired her. The 34-year-old tells NBC News that while management initially understood where she was coming from, workers got an email on Friday saying they now did have to get vaccinated. Jacobson says she sent an email back to management, reiterating her concerns and stating that once she knew more about the vaccine's effects on fertility, she'd "reconsider." Then, on Monday, after a 13-hour Valentine's Day shift, Jacobson says she was terminated, leaving her "shocked." "I do support the vaccine," Jacobson says. "I'm not, as they say, an anti-vaxxer."

She tells the New York Post that "if I am not getting it, it's my choice, and I'd only be hurting myself." Health experts, however, say they're still unable to confirm a vaccinated person can't transmit the virus to others. Labor lawyers tell the New York Times it's a tough spot all around, as it's understandable that employers would want to coax customers back with a vaccinated staff, but also understandable that workers could have personal concerns about the vaccine, as well as a hard time getting one right now. Jacobson says she isn't interested in getting her job back or taking legal action, but she does want employers to realize that workers may have special circumstances when it comes to vaccine mandates. The tavern's owner, meanwhile, says the situation should have been handled differently, and that the eatery will update its policy so "it's clear to our team how the process works and what we can do to support them." (More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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