Is your Facility 'forcing' you to get the Flu Vaccine? - page 4

by madwife2002 Asst. Admin

11,034 Views | 74 Comments

My company have a new policy that if you do not want to receive the flu vaccine this year by end November, then you have to wear a mask within 6 feet of all patients. So they are not saying you have to have the flu vaccine but... Read More


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    Our East Coast corporate health system announced Mandatory vaccination policy this week.
    Home health agency already had immunization program in place with my staff RN's providing injections at our business operations headquarters. Hey, it's the one time of year I get to jab the CEO and CFO.



    What is behind mandatory vaccination? $$$ and best healthcare practice recommendations.

    • Laws encouraging the prevention and reduction of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), infections acquired during the course of receiving treatment for other health conditions, have emerged and expanded in US since 2004. Thusly, a health care facility can establish a hiring policy that requires evidence of flu immunization along with other immunizations as fitness for duty to prevent HAI.
    • The Joint Commission standard is to achieve 90% health care personnel vaccination rate by 2020 supporting US HHS Healthy People 2020 Annual Influenza Vaccine Coverage Goal for Health Care Personnel,
    • Medicare IPPS regs require public reporting of health care worker vaccination rates starting in 2013. They will most likely include the expectation of 90% immunization rate as part of their value based purchasing plan taking back monies from facilities with lower than recommended rates.
    • PA Health Department noted that during the 2010/11 flu season, only 5 hospital systems and 18 nursing homes had vaccinated more than 90% of their staff against influenza. The Hospital Association of PA best practice paper released September 2011 Universal Flu Immunization Programs for Health Care Personnel encourages hospitals to work toward influenza vaccination as condition of employment by 2013.
    • On Feb. 8th 2012, the US Dept. of Health and Human Services' National Vaccine Advisory Committee voted 12-2 to recommend that health facilities failing to achieve a 90% flu-vaccination rate using voluntary approaches "strongly consider a policy of employer requirement for influenza vaccination."
    • There is increased concern for litigation from patients who can prove they acquired a HAI while inpatient.


    What health care workers are getting flu shots?

    Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among Health-Care Personnel — 2011–12 Influenza Season, United States shows the nationwide flu immunization rate among people working in health facilities was 63.5%. Physicians had higher immunization rates than nurses.

    Type of health worker 2010-11 immunization rate
    Physician or dentist 84.2%
    Nurse practitioner or physician assistant 82.6%
    Nurse 69.8%
    Allied health professional 64.4%
    Technician 64.0%
    Nonclinical support 66.2%
    Administrative 57.2%
    Assistant or aide 55.9%



    Some healthcare workers don't realize they had the flu, thus can pass it onto patients.

    HHS Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections

    Influenza transmission to patients by healthcare personnel (HCP) is well documented.1-8 HCP can acquire and transmit influenza from patients or transmit influenza to patients and other staff. Vaccination remains the single most effective preventive measure available against influenza, and can prevent many illnesses, deaths, and losses in productivity

    Several studies have documented serologic evidence of influenza infection after a mild influenza season. One study showed that among 23% of HCP with serologic evidence of influenza infection, 59% did not remember having influenza, and 28% could not recall any respiratory infection, suggesting a high proportion of asymptomatic illness. Thus, HCP who are clinically or sub-clinically infected can transmit influenza virus to other persons at high risk for complications from influenza.

    Influenza Vaccination Information for Health Care Workers

    What Does the Research Say?

    • Health care workers who get vaccinated help to reduce the following:
      • transmission of influenza
      • staff illness and absenteeism
      • influenza-related illness and death, especially among people at increased risk for severe influenza illness

    • Higher vaccination levels among staff have been associated with a lower risk of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) influenza cases.
    • Influenza outbreaks in hospitals and long-term care facilities have been attributed to low influenza vaccination coverage among health care workers in those facilities.
    • Higher influenza vaccination levels among health care workers can reduce influenza-related illness, and even deaths, in settings like nursing homes.

    Flu Vaccine Facts

    • The 2011-12 flu vaccine provides protection against the three main viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness this season. The 2011-12 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A (H3N2) virus, an influenza B virus, and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness during the 2009-10 influenza season.
    • Flu vaccines CANNOT cause the flu. The viruses in flu vaccines are either killed (the flu shot) or weakened (the nasal-spray vaccine).
    • Flu vaccines are safe. Serious problems from the flu vaccine are very rare. The most common side effect that a person is likely to experience is soreness where the injection was given. This is generally mild and usually goes away after a day or two.
    In at will states, employers can terminate staff for any reason unless under individual contract, have a union contract or religious objection under civil rights.
    Forcing Flu Shots, Employees and Health at Work - Lawyers.com
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Oct 15, '12 : Reason: typo's
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    I don't think it's fair to force workers to get a flu vaccine. Do they force all cashiers, bus drivers, anyone else who deals with people to get it? We can't force our patients to get it so they don't infect us. We can't force our patients to get anything for our protection, heck, we can't even force them to bathe so they don't stink us out sometimes.

    We are people with rights. And while I chose to get the flu vaccine this year (I had the flu last spring and it was the most miserable time I've had in a long time, mind you, I had the flu vaccine last year as well) I would not be forced to. They can't force you to consent to a medical procedure or medication to work there. If parents of children can refuse VITAL vaccines, why can't we refuse a flu vaccine if that's our prerogative?
    Last edit by JZ_RN on Oct 14, '12 : Reason: typo
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    I wrote this on another thread......I was in nursing school and they changed the rules mid-semester and said we all had to get the flu vaccine. I asked for my options because I signed off at the beginning of the semester and I was told I must get it or "not continue with your nursing education". I think this is an outrage.
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    Quote from imjustme123
    I wrote this on another thread......I was in nursing school and they changed the rules mid-semester and said we all had to get the flu vaccine. I asked for my options because I signed off at the beginning of the semester and I was told I must get it or "not continue with your nursing education". I think this is an outrage.
    It may not have been your school's decision. The facilities where you will be doing your clinicals may have started requiring it. Your school would have no say in that. If you can't go to clinical, then you can't take the required courses.
    chevyv likes this.
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    Just one more suttle loss of our freedom. What about the hospitals not hiring unless you have a BSN. Being forced to go back to school when tuition has tripled since I graduated, at almost 50 when I have 19 years of experience. Most of the hospitals dont admit to this however it is happening. Seems like discrimination to me.
    Esme12 and SweettartRN like this.
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    This is one of those arguments that will never end and will always have people on both sides of the fence. I'm still in NS, and was required to get the flu vaccine to even participate in a clinical setting. However, once graduated there is no way I'd consent to continue getting it. Forced immunizations is a really scary prospect, and something every single person should be crying foul about. This goes above "patient safety" and "sucking it up", this is about freedom of choice and freedom to decide what goes into your body.

    A few years back I read a journal article that the first H1N1 vaccine in Canada was only tested on a little over 200 people before being mass produced for the public. Out of those 200 people, 4 had severe reactions that required hospitalization. Even worse, the vaccine had never been tested on pregnant women (which doctors push to vaccinate) and was tested on less than 12 children before being deemed "safe". Sure, the CDC can tout the safety of vaccines all they want, but sometimes I wonder if the pharmaceutical companies don't have their hands in the pockets of the CDC and other agencies that are pushing for forced immunizations.

    I'll keep the freedom over my body, thank you very much.
    Grammakat13 and SweettartRN like this.
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    Wonder if the pharmaceutical companies might have their hands in the pockets of the CDC? Wonder no more! The law is obvious that they do. See http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-1...110s2456is.htm

    Specifically:

    ``SEC. 2142. VACCINE BUYBACK PROGRAM. ``(a) In General.--The Secretary shall establish an influenza vaccine buyback protocol under which the Secretary may enter into buyback contracts with manufacturers of influenza vaccine to purchase such manufacturers' excess stocks of influenza vaccine so long as such vaccine has been manufactured in accordance with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee for the production of seasonal influenza vaccine. ``(b) Manufacturers.--The Secretary shall have the discretion to award buyback contracts under subsection (a) to several influenza vaccine manufacturers in a manner consistent with the goal of providing stability in the influenza vaccine market, as long as the Federal Government purchases not more than 50 percent of the excess influenza vaccine stock of any single manufacturer at market price.

    That reads to me as - if they (the government) can't get us to use it, the federal government will buy it back - up to 50% of the excess - from each manufacturer - at market value.
    Last edit by SCSTxRN on Oct 14, '12 : Reason: spacing
    Esme12 likes this.
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    It is true that the flu might not harm you, but it might kill your patient. You are contagious before you have symptoms, long enough to pass it on. Being a healthcare worker I choose to be around vulnerable populations, and it is my responsibility to do my best to protect them. There is no scientific evidence linking the flu shot to Alzheimer's, or the flu, but there is a lot of actual scientific evidence showing the benefits of getting vaccinated. We are supposed to be advocates of evidence based medicine, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves, so we can educate the public. It is a small personal sacrifice that you can make for the well being of your patients. If a legitimate study comes out that shows some danger of getting the flu shot, a danger worse than potentially killing your patient, then I can understand fighting the system, but until that happens (if it is not contraindicated) stop whining and get the shot. There are a lot of battles worth fighting, this isn't one of them.
    NRSKarenRN likes this.
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    Quote from TheAmazingMrsA

    A few years back I read a journal article that the first H1N1 vaccine in Canada was only tested on a little over 200 people before being mass produced for the public. Out of those 200 people, 4 had severe reactions that required hospitalization. Even worse, the vaccine had never been tested on pregnant women (which doctors push to vaccinate) and was tested on less than 12 children before being deemed "safe". Sure, the CDC can tout the safety of vaccines all they want, but sometimes I wonder if the pharmaceutical companies don't have their hands in the pockets of the CDC and other agencies that are pushing for forced immunizations.
    The H1N1 vaccine is like any other flu vaccine. It's just a strain of influenza virus. There are different strains of virus in the vaccine every year, and they're not tested on huge quantities of people every year because there's simply no need. This is now the third year H1N1 has been vaccinated against, and I guarantee it hasn't seen a 2% rate of serious side effects.
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    My hospital mandates the flu shot this year. If you don't have it by a certain date, you get a week's unpaid administrative leave to consider your options. If, at the end of the week, you haven't gotten your flu shot, it's considered your resignation.

    I'd get the flu shot anyway. I got it as soon as I went back to work.


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