Cafe Steph
Do you think it’s fair to fire someone who refuses to get a flu shot?
January 5, 2013 at 10:55 AM

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?

Replies

  • ShugarD
    by ShugarD
    January 5, 2013 at 11:07 AM

     I can understand the hospital looking out for all of their patients, but they also have a right to protect their employees rights. I don't feel that it's right for the employees to be fired fro m their jobs for not getting the "flu shot". I feel that they should be forced to take a leave of absence during that time of the flu season to protect themselves and all others, but not to loose their jobs.. The employees know the consequences of not getting the shot and they can have a good and logical reason for them not getting the shot so they know by not getting it will put a dent in thier pay checks for the flu season time..

  • marissa615
    January 5, 2013 at 11:19 AM

     

     I don't think it's fair to try and force someone to put something in their body they don't want.  As a nurse for 19 years I can tell you that the Flu is the least of ones worries in the hospital. Sepsis and Staph and MRSA are more more of a worry.  To get back to the Flu shot, I refuse it every year.  There was a time I did get the Flu shot.  I got oit twice and both times ended up hospitalized with a terrible Flu.  I take my chances now on my own.  At least when I do get the Flu I am down for a few days at home and not 1-2 weeks in the hospital.  My ex-husband (DD's father) also had the same reaction I did, therefore, we do not give the Flu shot to my daughter.  DD was one of the first Swine Flu cases, thankfully it was quite mild and she was not hospitalized, but she does have the antibodies now.

  • sweet-a-kins
    January 5, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Patients come first, this is a medical issue not a religious one.

    they can CHOOSE to not work at that hospital

  • talia-mom
    January 5, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Yes

  • glitterteaz
    January 5, 2013 at 3:06 PM
    Yes, I do when it is in the medical field.
  • kailu1835
    January 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    No I don't think it's right at all.  People get sick from the flu shot every day.

  • lga1965
    by lga1965
    January 5, 2013 at 8:56 PM

     Yes, I think it is fair.

  • gsmom9
    by gsmom9
    January 5, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    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.

  • lga1965
    by lga1965
    January 5, 2013 at 10:48 PM

     

    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.

  • karisma22
    January 5, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    No.  It is not fair for people to be fired because they refuse to get a flu shot.