A New York City waitress was fired for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine over fertility concerns

A New York City waitress was fired for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine over fertility concerns
A person wears rubber gloves while scanning a QR code menu at a restaurant in New York CityNoam Galai/Getty Images
  • A Brooklyn restaurant fired a waitress who said she refused a COVID-19 vaccine in case it made her less likely to get pregnant.
  • Staff at the Red Hook Tavern got an email from management saying the vaccine was mandatory.
  • Bonnie Jacobson told the New York Times she wanted to see more data before she was vaccinated.

A New York City waitress said Wednesday she was fired from a restaurant after refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine in case it reduced her chances of getting pregnant.

Bonnie Jacobson, 34, said she was unexpectedly terminated from Red Hook Tavern in Brooklyn on Monday, days after she expressed concern about the vaccine's potential impact on fertility, the New York Times reported.

The restaurant's management sent out an email to staff on February 12 that said the COVID-19 vaccination would be mandatory for employees.

After a 13-hour shift on February 14, Sunday, Jacobson replied on Monday, explaining that she wanted to wait for more data and research about the vaccine's impact on fertility.

In response, management said: "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."


In New York state, restaurant employees are one of the first groups of workers eligible for a vaccine, after healthcare workers.

Doctors and medical-health professionals have recently spoken out to reassure people that getting a COVID-19 vaccines won't affect fertility. Experts told Insider there's no evidence the vaccine will make you infertile, after a Facebook post about Pfizer's vaccine causing infertility went viral in December.

Jacobson started working at the Red Hook Tavern in August after losing her previous job, she said. She told the Times that she and her husband began planning for a child last year.

"I totally support the vaccine," she told the Times. "If it wasn't for this one thing, I would probably get it."

The Red Hook Tavern's owner, Billy Durney, didn't directly answer any questions from the Times about Jacobson's case, but said the situation could have been dealt with differently. He said the restaurant's policies had been changed to make it clearer to staff about viable reasons for being exempt from getting a vaccine.


Pregnant women were initially excluded from vaccine trials, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found "no red flags" from 10,000 pregnant women who have already had the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US' top infectious-disease expert.

Advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that getting the vaccine is "a personal choice for people who are pregnant" and women can speak to their doctors to help them decide.