Desiree Pelletier, a 26-year old health care worker in Newville, Pennsylvania said that her employer has fired her for refusing to get the experimental COVID-19 vaccine, which is being distributed in the U.S. under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).1 2
Pelletier said that her employer, Hempfield Behavioral Health, is requiring that employees get the vaccine as a condition of employment in an effort the stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. She stated that she is not against vaccination; however, she needed more time to make a personal decision on whether it was best for her body. Pelletier was only given 30 days to make a decision and the deadline is imminent. After 30 days, the vaccine becomes a requirement for employment.3
Concerns Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine’s Impact on Fertility
Pelletier said that her concerns about the EUA COVID-19 vaccines are due to the fact that she would like to become pregnant soon and the fact that the potential adverse effects of experimental COVID-19 vaccines have not been thoroughly studied in pregnant women, including a lack of clinical investigation into the potential effects on fertility.4 She spoke with her doctor about her concerns and she said:
He could not tell me that he would recommend me not getting it, but he also said it should be my choice. I was a mess the whole time I had to make this decision, physically sick. I was thinking, ‘should I get it so I have a job, so I have insurance?5
Pelletier said that after giving it much thought, she decided that her personal beliefs take precedence over the vaccine requirement. Her employer gave her a notice of suspension letter, which states that she would have to provide proof of vaccination within 30 days.6
Pelletier’s suspension letter states that she must get vaccinated because she works with patients who are immune compromised and have a high risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus but are unable to get the vaccine for medical reasons. She said, “I don’t understand why I couldn’t sit here and Zoom unvaccinated with participants. I didn’t understand why I can’t be on the property with a mask on like I have done from June of 2020 to November of 2020.”7
FDA Says COVID-19 Vaccines Under EUA Status Must Be Voluntary
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explicitly states that experimental vaccines distributed under an EUA cannot be mandated and recipients must be given the option to accept or refuse the vaccine. The FDA website states:
FDA must ensure that recipients of the vaccine under an EUA are informed, to the extent practicable given the applicable circumstances, that FDA has authorized the emergency use of the vaccine, of the known and potential benefits and risks, the extent to which such benefits and risks are unknown, that they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccine, and of any available alternatives to the product.8
Woman in Nevada Lost Her Job After Refusing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
A Nevada resident claimed that she lost her job after refusing to get the EUA COVID-19 vaccine that her employer was requiring as a condition for employment. For privacy reasons, the woman did not want to share her name and the name of her employer.9
The woman said that she and some other employees refused to get the vaccine at the present time. She said, “We didn’t say no. We said not right now.” She added that, “There were just a lot of concerns. But they were just not heard. I feel like we should all have our right to choose or not choose it.”10
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1 Griffaton G. Cumberland County woman says she is being fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccine. Fox 43 Mar. 3, 2021.
2 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines Explained. Mar. 5, 2021.
4 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients Against COVID-19. Dec. 21, 2020.
5 Griffaton G. Cumberland County woman says she is being fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccine. Fox 43 Mar. 3, 2021.
8 FDA. Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines Explained. Mar. 5, 2021.
9 Loftis S. Woman claims she lost her job after refusing COVID-19 vaccine; legal expert weighs in on employee rights. 8 News Now Mar. 4, 2021.