A New York City waitress was sacked on Monday, after telling her employer that she had concerns about the safety of coronavirus vaccines and would rather wait until more was known about the jabs.
Bonnie Jacobson from Brooklyn said that her manager at Red Hook Tavern fired her a few days after she had expressed concern about how the vaccine affects fertility. She had been working at the tavern since August and she and her husband had been planning to have a baby. Speaking to NBC News yesterday, Bonnie said:
“I do support the vaccine. I’m not, as they say, an anti-vaxxer.”
She went on to say that she feels there is still a lack of research about how the vaccine affects pregnant women. She said her manager understood her concerns and assured her that the tavern wouldn’t be requiring staff to have the jab. A few days later, workers received an email which stated that the vaccines would be mandatory for all staff. NBC has seen the email:
“Please be advised that we will require that all employees receive the vaccination. 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.”
“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. Also once there is more research to support that it does not affect fertility I would reconsider my position.”
Two days later, she was fired.
“It was really impersonal. I was honestly shocked,” she told NBC. “My gut reaction was to just say, OK. Fine, I’ll get it. I need my job. But that just didn’t sit right with me. I was like, actually, I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think that’s the choice I need to be making here.”
The owner of Red Hook Tavern, Billy Durney, released a statement saying:
“Once New York state allowed restaurant workers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to put a plan in place to keep our team and guests safe. No one has faced these challenges before and we made a decision that we thought would best protect everyone. We now realize that we need to update our policy so it’s clear to our team how the process works and what we can do to support them. We’re making these changes immediately.”