A Brooklyn waitress was fired after she turned down the COVID-19 vaccine due to fertility concerns with the shot as she and her husband were trying for a baby.
Bonnie Jacobson was fired from Brooklyn’s Red Hook Tavern last week after she relayed to her bosses that she was not getting the coronavirus vaccine right away. She is concerned about the effects the vaccine could have on her fertility, and did not want to take any chances.
However, since New York City has declared that restaurant staff are “essential workers” and therefore eligible to relieve the vaccine, the company sent its employees information about the shot on February 8.
Jacobson let her bosses know at a staff meeting about her decision to wait as she wanted time to research the new vaccine before accepting it. On February 12, Red Hook sent out an email declaring that the vaccine was mandatory.
“Please be advised that we will require that all employees receive the vaccination,” the email read. “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,” it continued.
Jacobson wrote back, “I am choosing not to get the vaccine because there just isn’t enough data or research at this point on its effects on fertility.”
“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 continued.
According to the Daily Mail, Jacobson said that she took the coronavirus very seriously and had been making sure she didn’t have it.
“I get tested every 1-2 weeks and have never tested positive for COVID,” she wrote. “I plan to continue these safety practices for as long as necessary.”
The waitress also said that she would “reconsider” her position once there was more research to show that the vaccine did not affect fertility.
In response, Red Hook Tavern wrote to Jacobson on Monday, February 22 to say that she was fired.
“In order to continue employment with us, getting the vaccine is required,” her bosses wrote.
“At this time, your employment will be terminated. We are sad to see you go. If you do change your mind, please do not hesitate to let us know.”
Jacobson indicated that she was shocked by the swift and impersonal way in which she was let go.
“I just wanted more time. They didn’t allow me that,” she said.
“I didn’t even have time to consult a physician. It was a week from being ‘your choice,’ to it's not going to be mandatory, to it is mandatory, to ‘you’re fired,’” she continued.
“I had a very good working relationship there. I just had an employee review on February 6 and it was all positive, so it was truly shocking that it was so impersonal.”
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