I have been a health care employee for over 20 years and have never had to take a flu shot. I work overtime weekly because we are so short staffed, and I can’t remember the last time I had to call in. Now I am being mandated to take a flu shot or lose my job. This is happening to health care workers across the country. My primary care physician told me yesterday that if medical staff refuse to take the flu shot they are denied admitting privileges for their patients at area hospital. This is outright blackmail and should not be tolerated. If our patients have the right to choose what substances are put into their bodies shouldn’t the health care workers taking care of them have the same rights? Our basic human rights are being violated. Flu shots are being mandated under the guise of protecting the patient, but who is protecting the employee ? Today its a flu shot, what will tomorrow bring?
Most people that work in health care do so because they like to help people. We give of our time energy and hearts to help our clients regain health and give comfort to those in need. We give of ourselves to help people through some of the most difficult times in their lives and most days we enjoy doing so. However, when employers mandate yearly flu vaccines you take away personal right to choose what is best for their health. The decision about vaccination should be up to the individual and should not be required as a condition for employment.
Our clients have the right to accept or refuse any medical treatment they don’t wants without threats or harassment and healthcare works should have the same rights. Health care organizations can work with their employees to encourage flu vaccination participation without violating their civil liberties.
The CDC encouraged health care workers to be vaccinated against the flu, it is not mandated. The CDC estimated that the vaccine for the 2012-13 flu season was only 56 percent effective. If you know that something may or may not be effective shouldn’t each individual be given the option to choose if they like those odds? And while flu vaccination is beneficial for some it is not without risk or side effect such as soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, hoarseness; sore, red or itchy eyes; cough, fever, body aches, itching, fatigue, seizure, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea and more.
Mandatory employee flu vaccination is also not recommended by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA). The Joint Commission only requires that health care organizations their educate staff and practitioners about the vaccine; control and prevention measures outside the vaccination regime; and the diagnosis, transmission and impact of influenza.
Please help protect employee rights to choose what goes into their bodies. There are other alternatives to preventing the spread of the flu virus, such as hand washing, use of personal protective equipment, increased housekeeping staff and education of the community at large to decrease the spread of the flu and other communicable diseases.
Follow this link to to join the fight to protect health care workers rights and jobs.
We only need 55 more signatures for our petition to be delivered to our elected officials. It may be too late to save my job but if I can help one doctor, nurse, lab tech, respiratory therapist, paramedics ect save their jobs then I have done my duty.
For more information see the link below.
- “American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) representing 9 million workers: “The Healthy People 2020 Objective of 90 Percent Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Among Health Care Personnel Is A Goal Rather Than a Mandatory Requirement”
“Unilateral Implementation Of Mandatory Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Programs In Unionized Healthcare Facilities Is A Violation Of The National Labor Relations Act – NVAC Should Not Endorse Illegal Acts By Employers”
“Healthcare workers must be permitted to refuse the annual seasonal influenza vaccination without fear of reprisal for medical, religious, or personal reasons.”
- American Federation of Teachers (AFT) representing 1.5 million members: “The mandate should be the adoption of a comprehensive standard similar to OSHA blood-borne pathogen standard with requirements for training, voluntary immunization and declination after education.”
- Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America (AFA) representing 60,000 flight attendants at 23 airlines: “AFA does not support making influenza vaccination a condition of employment for HCP. As stated in the draft report, this is a controversial and hotly debated recommendation. It is also one that if adopted will have significant, career-altering consequences for workers who object strongly (for whatever reason) to influenza vaccination.”
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): “OSHA is a strong supporter of appropriate education, ready access and signed declination statements for HCP vaccinations. OSHA’s bloodborne pathogen standard regarding Hepatitis B education and vaccination is a best-practice model. Influenza vaccination exemptions should be allowed for HCP with valid medical contraindications to vaccinations, or religious and/or personal objections.”