Mandatory Influenza Vaccine

  1. Hi - I am a nurse working in the UK. Every year I get asked to have the flu jab by my employer. This year particularly I felt that I could not say no and I felt bullied into having it.

    I have since found out that in US it is mandatory in some hospitals - how common is it? There is debate about whether it should be introduced over in the UK.

    I think that it should be individual choice. My main question is how widespread is mandatory flu jabs for health care professionals?
  2. Visit AllisonMcTigue profile page

    About AllisonMcTigue

    Joined: Aug '16; Posts: 6
    from GB

    43 Comments

  3. by   K+MgSO4
    The Australian view......in my hospital (adults no peads) mandatory in BMT/Haem ward as well as the ID ward. Part of their contracts.

    I manage a ward which was a significant immunocompromised population with UC/ chrons, home TPN pts with CVADs etc. I strongly encourage it, and also work with the CNCs for these pt groups to get the pts immunized before a flare of their disease.

    We had a shocking flu season last winter where 25% of nursing staff were out sick at one terrible point with illness so our organisation has a 85% target for vaccination this year.
  4. by   Rocknurse
    I'm British, although I live and work in the US. In my state it is mandatory everywhere, and if you refuse you are fired. They are very open about that. You will not work as a nurse if you do not have the flu shot, unless you have a religious or allergic reason for not getting it, and then you will have to wear a mask all the time you are around patients in a clinical area. I don't like it either but I prefer working.
  5. by   Wuzzie
    If you want to know about the various opinions about the flu shot just type "flu shot" into the search bar and settle in. There are at least a hundred threads about it.
  6. by   klone
    I know of very few hospitals that actually mandate the flu shot or lose your job (Children's hospital where I worked in Colorado was that way). Most places say that you must get your flu shot or you have to wear a mask during peak flu season.

    Just curious - in what way were you "bullied" into getting it?
  7. by   ruby_jane
    Some hospitals will let you abstain and wear a mask; some will give you advance notice that you cannot work without a vaccine. If you really feel strongly about it, ask that in an interview and if it's a deal breaker, don't take the job. But please don't be surprised when this happens. It's a choice, and if you choose not to have a vaccine, accept the consequences of your choice.

    Mr. Ruby Jane is really sensitive to the preservative in the multi-dose vials. He abstained for several years, got the flu in 2016, and this year when they came around and offered him the "preservative free" individual dosing, he took the shot, didn't have a reaction, and didn't get the flu.
  8. by   AllisonMcTigue
    I had to sign a form saying why I was declining it. Perhaps this was just for research purposes. I think it should be personal choice and I was surprised when I read that it is mandatory in US. Do the hospitals with the high staff vaccination rates have less sickness absence?
  9. by   AllisonMcTigue
    I will have a look. Thanks.
  10. by   MunoRN
    Quote from AllisonMcTigue
    I had to sign a form saying why I was declining it. Perhaps this was just for research purposes. I think it should be personal choice and I was surprised when I read that it is mandatory in US. Do the hospitals with the high staff vaccination rates have less sickness absence?
    In theory it is to reduce the potential for exposing patients to communicable illness, which is why it's not a personal choice since that would be a choice that primarily effects only you. There's not good evidence that vaccinating healthcare workers actually protects patients, but at least as the basis for the requirement it's certainly within a hospital's purview to protect their patients from avoidable harm. It's the same premise by which they can require that you wash your hands, could a nurse who claimed to be opposed to handwashing consider the 'right' to refuse to wash their hands be a protected personal choice?
  11. by   pmabraham
    Since we allow our patients the choice, I agree it should be a choice in the U.S. I'm thankful my current employer allows the choice.
  12. by   broughden
    Quote from AllisonMcTigue
    I think that it should be individual choice. My main question is how widespread is mandatory flu jabs for health care professionals?
    It should definitely be an individual choice, BUT the results of that choice should be not to hire you should you refuse to be vaccinated.
    It astounds me that we could have anti-vax people working in the health care field.

    I have joined a number of anti-vax Facebook pages to see just how far down the rabbit hole some of their nonsensical beliefs go. Ive read posts from parent who think "cleansing" (ie urine or epsom salt baths) can cure anything from rubella to tetanus. Ive read posts from parents who give their autistic kids bleach enemas, because they think it kills the "intestinal parasites" causing their child's autism.
    All of it modern day snake oil or witchcraft, with no scientific basis.

    Frankly, Ive read and witnessed so many scary things I think parenting should now require approval and a license before being allowed.
  13. by   KelRN215
    Quote from klone
    I know of very few hospitals that actually mandate the flu shot or lose your job (Children's hospital where I worked in Colorado was that way).
    Perhaps it's a Children's Hospital thing? Both Boston and Philadelphia have that rule, too, as far as I know.
  14. by   DowntheRiver
    We are required to get the flu vaccine or wear a mask. If you chose the mask option you must always be wearing it, and they do enforce it from October to March. It is an offense that could merit a write-up. I work in Oncology in direct patient contact with people undergoing treatment so I get it. Flu was so bad this year that if you tested positive for it, provided a DR note, and called out it didn't count as a call out through the end of March.

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