Mandated Flu vaccine?

  1. Hi- Just received a blanket email yesterday that my hospital in VA is requiring ALL STAFF involved in patient care to get the flu vaccine this year. (incl nurses, physicians, clinical aides etc) I always get the vaccine voluntarily but feels wrong that this can be mandated. I still intend to get it. Is this legal? I remember something similar involving a group of NY Nurses some time back.
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    About mol42

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 25; Likes: 6


  3. by   Esme12
    I don't agree. I feel this is America I have the right to refuse. The "big" hospitals in Boston are threatening termination and suspension for no-compliance. There isn't a precedent for this and I suppose some are going to lose their jobs and sue before it's settled. I worry about these arbitrary decisions. Every decision that leaves no choice and threatens you with your job is being bullied by the one in power and is abusive. Like every other form of abuse it's all about those in power and the abuse of their power over others with lesser power.

    It's a slippery slope to arbitrary unfair treatment of all......
  4. by   blondy2061h
    Hospitals mandate all kinds of vaccines and no one gets up in arms about being required to get a hepatitis b vaccine. I don't get how this is any different.

    NYS did try and mandate every nurse in the state to get the flu vaccines two years back, but pulled the mandate not due to principle issues, but because the supply of the h1n1 vaccine was insufficient to even vaccinate the people that wanted it, much less those that didn't want it.

    Every year my job requires the flu vaccine or else you wear a mask from October 1 to April 1.
  5. by   SuesquatchRN

    If you are allergic to the shot you should be permitted to opt out. Other than that, as the front line in the war against illness, we have an obligation to protect the herd.
  6. by   psu_213
    One place that I worked required it using a study (I forget if it was from the CDC or a major research hospital) that traced a flu outbreak at a hospital to an unvaccinated employee. I don't know the details of the study, but this is what they 'hung their hats on' for requiring all employees to get a flu shot.

    I worked in a LTC facility that required flu shots for everyone. For an employee to opt out for reasons other than allergy or pregnancy they had to have a note from their doc. An employee could not merely say "I don't want it." According to one employee, she went to her doctor for an 'excuse' note. The doctor though that she should have the vaccine and would not write her a note. She continued to refuse the shot and was terminated.
  7. by   Maliffy
    The hospice that I work for is also considering mandating the vaccine for all clinical and social service staff in direct patient contact. I can see the logic in it, but there are some other things that employers are not considering.

    Every year I choose not to get a flu vaccine because I have a history of not so great reactions to them. I don't have details, but I did poorly after all my childhood immunizations. I never had chicken pox as a kid, and almost flunked out of nursing school when I missed a week after my varicella vaccine. That was fun...sorry, can't come out and play, I have the chicken pox. (I was 25.) If a vaccine has the potential to cause viremia, I get it, and bad too. Hence after my second bad flu shot experience, I have chosen to "work without a net" as it were.

    When I suggested to my employer that I would be willing to get a flu shot IF they agreed in writing that any time I missed as a result of receiving the vaccination would be paid, and would NOT be deducted from my available sick/vacation time, they looked at me as though I had finally lost my mind. Sorry, but I feel it is completely unreasonable to mandate I (or anyone else) do something that has a likelyhood of causing them to miss work, and then penalize them for it if they do. My sick leave is for when I get sick, not for when they make me sick. I'm not sure how bigger employers are handling that concern, but it IS something worth considering.
    Last edit by Maliffy on Sep 17, '11 : Reason: edited to correct typo
  8. by   roser13
    Oh dear, here we go again..........

  9. by   VICEDRN
    I am happy to receive my free flu vaccinations from my employer but I totally and completely agree that you should have the right to refuse for your own reasons and further, I agree that it is a slippery slope to all kinds of mandates that reek of patriarchy and subjugation.
  10. by   Isabelle49
    Every 'patient' has the right to choose their caregiver and the right to refuse treatment. As RN's we are also patients, so we have the same rights. I don't think 'Patient's Rights and Responsibilities' is a minor thing. I'm sure the hospital accrediting organizations would agree.
  11. by   melstei
    The hospital I work for requires ALL personnel (even the Administrative staff and those that have no direct contact with patients) to get flu vaccines or face suspension and/ or termination. The only opt out is medical or religious reasons. Although I plan to get my free vaccine, I do agree that you should have the option to refuse.
  12. by   ukstudent
    It certainly is a slippery slope that we are all on. The requirements and mandates are only going to increase. This economy has given the power to the employers and they are using it.

    The thinking of several hospital all around America has become, these are our rules, if you don't like them, feel free not to work here. It is becoming in some areas, where the majority of the hospitals all have the same rules, do as we want or move in order to work.

    It is not only mandated flu vaccines, it is also not employing anyone that smokes (even outside the hospital and off work). In the future look out for needing a certain BMI, cholesterol count, etc. Also any other vaccine that is deemed necessary.

    Isabelle49, as nurses we are not patients. Our only right, is the right not to work for them. The JC has no problem with mandated flu vaccines.

    I will point out that I always got the flu vaccine and don't smoke. I still think both policies although legal, stink.
  13. by   SweettartRN
    I am just waiting for a nurse to take one of these mandatory vaccines, die from complications and sit back and wait for the lawsuit, and THEN watch administration cover their tracks and backpedal on these mandatory requirements.

    I will never work for an employer who requires that they regulate what goes in and out of my body. In fact, I would be the first to hire a lawyer and fight it. Wasn't Roe Vs. Wade about a "woman's right to choose?" And shouldn't I have the right to choose what I want in my body?

    I have never gotten a flu shot, and I never get sick. I don't plan to start now or anytime soon.
  14. by   wooh
    Quote from SuesquatchRN
    If you are allergic to the shot you should be permitted to opt out.

    We don't even get that. We have to go to an allergist (on our own dime, "dime" meaning specialist copay) to get half the vaccination, and if it doesn't kill us then we get the other half, and if that doesn't kill us, we get to do it all over again next year. And the year after that and the year after that. All the while forgetting all we've been taught about repeated exposure to allergens. And all we've been taught about anoxic brain injury (because isn't a doctor's office exactly where you want to lose your airway? With the only people around to save you being a doc that hasn't seen a code cart since his residency and some MAs that might have taken a CPR class?)

    I think what makes this different is it's every year having to take the risk. Every ten years for tetanus. Three times for HepB. Once for chicken pox. It's an entirely different risk to benefit ratio than a yearly vaccine. Especially if you're allergic and your workplace wants to brag about 100% compliance.

    I've already destroyed my back being a nurse. Not sure how much more of my health I want to risk. But in this economy...