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Do you think it’s fair to fire someone who refuses to get a flu shot?

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Hospital Workers Fired for Refusing to Get a Flu Shot

Posted by Deborah Cruz on January 4, 2013 

flu shotEight hospital employees have lost their jobs after refusing to get the flu shot, which became mandatory for all staff this year.

Workers at IU Health Goshen Hospital in Indiana had the option to file for medical or religious exemptions -- but were then given the boot when they wouldn't get the vaccine.

The hospital says its new stricter rules are meant to protect patients with weaker immune systems, since the flu can be particularly dangerous and even deadly if those people catch it. While I appreciate that they're looking out for their patients' well-being, I have to wonder: what about the rights of their own employees?

I understand the flu has a high mortality rate in people who already have weakened immune systems and could quite literally kill patients. I even understand why the hospital is trying to force their employees to get the flu shot, since not being vaccinated seems irresponsible when you work directly with sick people.

But if this were any other field and employers were trying to make their staff get this or any other vaccine, it would be considered an infringement on their rights and personal beliefs.

These hospital workers deserve to get their jobs back. For one thing, it's opening the door to other employers to require staff to get shots or other medical procedures as a contingency for employment. And for another, vaccines are a personal choice and carry with them some potential for harm, so if someone doesn't want one, they should not be forced to get it.

There has to be an alternative to people who have dedicated their entire lives to the field of medicine being given a pink slip because they don’t want the flu shot. Maybe there should be a forced leave of absence without pay during flu season or a quarantine in which those employees are prohibited from working with patients with compromised immune systems. But it makes no sense that they were given the chance to opt out -- only to be fired. That seems like discrimination to me.

Do you think it’s fair to fire someone who refuses to get a flu shot?

by on Jan. 5, 2013 at 10:55 AM
Replies (11-20):
lovinmykiddo07
by Bronze Member on Jan. 5, 2013 at 10:51 PM
No. It is not fair.
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Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Jan. 5, 2013 at 11:20 PM
My daughter was allergic to eggs & would get her flu shot at her pedi allergist's office, stay an extended period, etc. They can do a skin test first to see if one is allergic to the flu shot too. Many egg allergic folk can actually get a flu shot at an allergist/immunologist's office safely. My DD never had an allergic reaction to a flu shot.


Quoting lga1965:

 


Quoting gsmom9:


not if your allergic to the shot, and i wonder how much research was done on its effectiveness, as every year, the flu still hits bad at least once. the one year i didnt get the flu shot, i was one of the few that didnt get the flu, and i was on the front lines tending the sick.


 http://suite101.com/article/what-is-a-real-flu-shot-vaccine-allergy-a294205


this will answer your questions about being allergic to flu shots qnd what to do . You're likely to be allergic if you are allergic to eggs since the flu vaccine is incubated in eggs.If you eat eggs and have no reation to them then you won't be allergic to the flu shot.


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Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Jan. 5, 2013 at 11:25 PM
I don't think firing them is reasonable, if they have a documented religious reason or egg allergy. It seems like these employees could have cases with the EEOC or under the ADA.

Further, a flu shot isn't always effective. I work in a medical model facility that gives free flu shots in October to all employees on the employer's provided insurance. A few of us got the flu in Dec, including myself. The shot only covers 5 strains. My DD once got the flu even though she had had a flu shot that year. It happens. If it were foo proof...
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Dinimon
by on Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:17 AM
I don't think that's fair.
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sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:20 AM
1 mom liked this
I never get a flu shot , neither do my kids or husband

But if it were a condition of my employment that was caring for sick people, I would comply or find another job if I didnt want too


Quoting gsmom9:

not if your allergic to the shot, and i wonder how much research was done on its effectiveness, as every year, the flu still hits bad at least once. the one year i didnt get the flu shot, i was one of the few that didnt get the flu, and i was on the front lines tending the sick.

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Zadidoll
by on Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:25 AM

Fired for not getting the flu shot? That's not fair.

NHGal
by on Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:30 AM
My mom works in a hospital and was given the option of getting the shot or wearing a mask while at work - she works in the finance department and doesn't interact with patients. She opted for the shot. If the employees are offered the shot or wearing a mask and they refuse both, I could see this being a fireable reason.
At a previous job I had, they required my department to get our hepatitis shots because the samples we handled had an extremely small chance of being infected even though the samples we handled were frozen the entire time and we used proper handling procedures. Smart on the part of the company
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stormcris
by Christy on Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:32 AM

I think it violates right to care and is hypocritical of a hospital.

butterflycircle
by on Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:33 AM
2 moms liked this

I don't  think it is fair at all, unless it was a stipulation when they were hired and they knew about it then. If they took the job knowing that they would have to get the shot then sure.

The flu shot doesn't even mean you wont get the flu. I don't get the flu shot (even pregnant) and I have not gotten the flu (same for my kids and husband). Sure we don't work in the medical field but my daughter goes to public school and my husband works hands on with the public too. You Can pick it up any where. What is next, will they be forcing the employees to take specific vitamins too? 

prenatalRN
by Member on Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:44 AM
7 moms liked this

As an RN, I do believe it is fair. There is also an egg free version now for those with allergies. Like with any job if you don't agree with its requirements, you don't have to work there. 

As nurses and others in health care our main job is to promote and restore health. Mandating the flu shot is on par as requiring handwashing before and after entering a patients room and before patient contact. We do BEST practice to BEST protect those we care for. If you fail to follow best practice, of course you should lose your job.

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