A New York City waitress was fired after she expressed hesitation about taking the COVID-19 vaccine without knowing the effects it might have on women who are trying to get pregnant.
According to a report from the New York Post, management at Brooklyn restaurant Red Hook Tavern dismissed 34-year-old Bonnie Jacobson after she refused to get the vaccine “immediately” under her boss’s mandatory orders because she wanted to see more research about its compatibility with fertility.
“The way I see it, getting the vaccine is for me. It protects me. If I am not getting it, it’s my choice, and I’d only be hurting myself,” she said, a view that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports for expectant mothers. The CDC also says currently that the COVID vaccine is “unlikely to pose a risk for pregnant people.”
Jacobson added that while she “fully supports” people getting vaccinated, she chose “not to get the vaccine because there just isn’t enough data or research at this point on its effects on fertility.”
Despite the restaurant’s policy providing vaccine exemptions to people whose “personal health or disability prohibits you from obtaining this vaccination,” Jacobson was still booted to the curb after working a 13-hour shift, in a “shocking” and “hurtful” decision by her employers, considering her commitment to working throughout the pandemic.
“I was expecting to be met by the same flexibility and compassion,” she said.
While tavern managers claimed they “respected her choice,” they also said they were forced to let her go in order to comply with restaurant policy.
“We are sad to see you go,” an email from management said. “If you do change your mind, please do not hesitate to let us know.”
Jacobson, however, said she will not return even when she does receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
“It’s a good restaurant, the food is excellent, the money is great [but] I think I want to take a minute for myself,” she said, noting she and her husband are family planning.
While the restaurant announced it would be changing its policies to better communicate about to who qualifies for an exemption following the incident with Jacobson, the CDC says there are still many unknowns concerning whether vaccinated people can spread the virus. The agency suggests that masks, which the restaurant requires, still be worn “regardless of one’s own immunity.”
Data from before Americans were even vaccinated also suggests that restaurants in New York only accounted for approximately 1.4 percent of its COVID-19 spread.