The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increased opposition to vaccines. Although the height of the pandemic has ebbed, anti-vax sentiment remains strong among some portions of the population.
A pregnant woman at a Walgreens in Lafayette, Louisiana recently had an encounter with one such person. A video of the incident shows her being confronted by a woman who continues pestering her about taking a vaccine while pregnant and repeatedly ignores her requests to be left alone.
Last Thursday, Brittany went to a local Walgreens to get a Tdap vaccine, which prevents tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (commonly known as whooping cough). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends getting the vaccine during pregnancy to prevent potentially life-threatening illnesses in both mothers and babies.
An older woman was in front of her at the pharmacy counter, so a member of the staff asked Brittany what she was there for. When she said it was for a vaccine, the older woman reacted immediately.
“Her head whipped around, she said something to me right away,” Brittany told the Daily Dot on Tuesday. “It was like, ‘A vaccine? But you’re pregnant? Why?'” Brittany asked for her last name to be withheld for privacy reasons.
Brittany, who is in her third trimester of pregnancy, said she told the woman to leave her alone and took a seat to wait for her appointment. She said that she doesn’t know the woman personally and had never seen her before.
While she waited, the woman kept turning around to leer at her, so Brittany pulled her phone out to record in case the woman confronted her. She told the Daily Dot that she wasn’t fearful, so much as agitated by the expectation that a stranger may offer her unwanted medical advice.
Brittany’s suspicions were correct. The woman approached her as soon as she was finished at the pharmacy. The Daily Dot isn’t identifying the woman because it was unable to obtain contact information for her.
A video of the encounter shows the woman walk up to Brittany and ask what vaccine she was going to get.
Brittany replied that it was none of her business and asked her to get away. The woman replied that she was six feet away, which experts recommended to reduce the spread of COVID.
“What makes you think you need a vaccine while you’re pregnant?” the woman asked.
Brittany replied, “I take medical advice from my doctor who went to medical school, not a woman in the line at Walgreens who apparently can’t even take her prescription medication according to directions. Please stop talking to me.”
The woman was undeterred.
“That’s a very good point. Do you feel better justifying the fact you’re going to inject some kind of chemical?” she said sarcastically. “Do you know what the ingredients exactly are of that thing you’re going to put in your body, right into your baby’s body?”
Expressing concern about ingredients in vaccines other than the vaccines themselves is a common refrain in the anti-vax community.
Yet again, Brittany asked the woman to go away.
Once again, the woman ignored her. “Don’t be influenced by liberalism and vaccines. That’s a new thing,” the woman said. “That isn’t even in my lifetime that we would go while we were pregnant and get vaccines.”
@bkim1994 I was already filming because she had previously said something to me when I initially checked in and I could tell she wasn’t done. And ironically enough, while i was waiting she was in an argument with the pharmacist about how she was running out of a certain medication too quickly. It turns out she was taking more than directed because I guess she cant read. And yet she’s a vaccine expert! #pregnant #pregnanttiktok #karen #vaccine #psycho #lafayette #lafayettelouisiana #walgreens ♬ original sound – Bkim94
They went back and forth like this for several seconds more.
“You really need to get away from me. You’re really starting to piss me off,” Brittany said at one point.
“I hope so. I hope I am. I really hope I make you think about what you’re doing to your baby,” the woman replied.
The woman started walking away, then paused to wave at the camera. “Hello. You can take a picture of me,” she said.
“Oh, no, I’m taking a video. I’m going to put it on the internet,” Brittany replied.
“That’s good,” the woman said. “I hope you do.”
Brittany asked her to go away again. Finally, the woman complied.
When she was gone, Brittany started crying. “It was adrenaline-based,” Brittany said on Tuesday. “I was just really mad and flustered.” A Walgreens employee who’d overheard the last part of their exchange came over to comfort her, then led her behind a screen to wait in private.
After getting the Tdap vaccine, Brittany hurried to her car and left. Later, she posted the video on TikTok.
Supportive comments poured in. “You said exactly what you needed to say. I am so sorry that happened to you,” wrote Jen Hamilton, a labor and delivery nurse.
As of this writing, 75,000 people have watched it and over 1,000 have commented. While a few said they agreed with the anti-vaxxer, more of those said they disagreed with her approach.
Many of the commenters were frustrated that Walgreens didn’t stop the woman from bothering her. Brittany said that she has spoken with the store manager and that the location is going to address her concerns, including how it checks people in at the pharmacy.
In the past, she didn’t think anything of getting a vaccine at a public pharmacy. After this incident, Brittany said she might schedule an appointment with her doctor for future vaccines.
As for TikTok, she might post again if something interesting happens, but Brittany said she’ll probably go back to being an observer.
She paused, then said, “I do have cats. Maybe I’ll just become a cat TikToker. I don’t know.”