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Hospital Mandates Employees Get Flu Vax Or Be Fired


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  #21  
August 31st, 2011, 02:03 PM
plan4fate's Avatar I may bend, but not break
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I almost didn't get to see my dying father because I'm not flu vaccinated. I'm one of those annoying people that has to rely on those around me to be vaccinated because the sickness I get from the vaccine is worse than the flu (which I've had a few times, and isn't fun either). Sucks because I have to get it this year for immigration, no medical or religious exceptions permitted according to my lawyer.. she said she could sue if i wanted. lol.


I see no reason why it's unreasonable to expect hospital staff to be fully vaccinated. Some are designed to protect you, others are designed to protect the patients. While the vaccine isn't perfect, it's another layer of protection. It's just like drug testing and other things people object to. You want the job, you'll do it, you don't, you wont.

I went into the ER last year during flu season for a migraine. Every patient who came in had to put on a gown and mask (all disposable) before they could be seen by the doctor. They weren't given it until the doctor was coming in. Didn't matter if you were showing symptoms, you HAD to put it on to be seen. The doctors entered the room wearing fresh disposable gowns, gloves and masks too, and removed them right outside the door. Halifax didn't want another year like 2009.

So maybe anyone who wants to not get the shot should be given the opportunity to provide their own disposable items to keep the patients safer. I'm sure the flu shot costs a lot less too.
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  #22  
August 31st, 2011, 02:15 PM
L-SBB's Avatar Bébé Cowgirl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho06 View Post
I never claimed it to be an all or nothing thought process. A vaccine will do nothing more than protect the worker from being an active carrier and most likely needing to take time off to recover. The staff will still become passive carriers via their clothing, equipment etc. One does not have to be sick with anything to pass it along. Why not just have those working who are in contact with patients, especially those who are at risk, wear a mask to help prevent the possible transmission of the flu? Seems like a better alternative for those who choose not to get the vaccine than termination IMO
that's a fair suggestion, although i'm guessing this is perhaps less protective than vaxing? i have no medical background, so not sure whether masks are equally protective (although i'd hope for the most severely ill patients they'd do this anyway, regardless of vax status).

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredmom View Post
It's not about you at all. If an individual health care worker refuses a vaccine and only places themselves at risk, that would be fine. But when they refuse the flu vaccine they put patients at risk.

The same article I linked above addresses the ethical obligations of physicians in patient care.

It should be well with in the right of an individual to quit a job that obligates them to do something they do not want to do. But the hospital should not be obligated to employ these health care workers that would put their own concerns above that of their patients.
ITA...Savannah was briefly, severely ill earlier this year and almost hospitalized when the antibiotics weren't working quickly enough. In the urgent care clinics and ERs we were treated in, they kept frantically moving us around to avoid contact with other patients who were there being treated for flu & chicken pox - going so far as to not even put her in rooms those patients had been seen in hours earlier - because her immune system had become so compromised (thankfully temporarily so) that almost anything she came into contact with could have made her situation critical. I have no idea whether the doctors or nurses who treated her over those weeks were vax'd, but I would consider it irresponsible of them if they weren't....hospitals can't do much to control the illnesses brought in by other patients, but I do expect them to try to minimize exposure from the health care providers they employ.
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  #23  
August 31st, 2011, 02:20 PM
foxfire_ga79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredmom View Post
It's not about you at all. If an individual health care worker refuses a vaccine and only places themselves at risk, that would be fine. But when they refuse the flu vaccine they put patients at risk.

The same article I linked above addresses the ethical obligations of physicians in patient care.



It should be well with in the right of an individual to quit a job that obligates them to do something they do not want to do. But the hospital should not be obligated to employ these health care workers that would put their own concerns above that of their patients.

Yes they should. Medicines that are administered should be given to the person DIRECTLY benefiting from it. If I won't benefit from a drug, don't try and get me to put it into my system. A job cannot demand that you take health risks to benefit other people.

And yea, making sure I had my vaccinations and titers was about me. They didn't want to take the risk of me getting cut by something and getting tetanus. They didn't want to treat me if I got hepatitis on the job. Anything that happened to me on the job was on them.

I can't speak for every area in the medical field, but I can tell you that in EMS, both where I worked and where DH works now, medical workers are not expected to put aside risks to their own health for the sake of the patients.
Maybe it's different for people who work in the hospital though. Apparently they aren't allowed to think of their own health anymore. Like I said, if faced with that ultimatum, that hospital would lose me as an employee. And seeing how the article says a hospital never got more than 65% voluntary vaccinations, I'm guessing they're willing to lose 35% of their employees. But hey, at least the patients won't have to worry about catching the flu as it takes them 8 hours to see a nurse and even longer for a doctor once the hospitals are that far understaffed, so there's a silver lining to this cloud!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Tithen~ View Post
I almost didn't get to see my dying father because I'm not flu vaccinated. I'm one of those annoying people that has to rely on those around me to be vaccinated because the sickness I get from the vaccine is worse than the flu (which I've had a few times, and isn't fun either). Sucks because I have to get it this year for immigration, no medical or religious exceptions permitted according to my lawyer.. she said she could sue if i wanted. lol.


I see no reason why it's unreasonable to expect hospital staff to be fully vaccinated. Some are designed to protect you, others are designed to protect the patients. While the vaccine isn't perfect, it's another layer of protection. It's just like drug testing and other things people object to. You want the job, you'll do it, you don't, you wont.

I went into the ER last year during flu season for a migraine. Every patient who came in had to put on a gown and mask (all disposable) before they could be seen by the doctor. They weren't given it until the doctor was coming in. Didn't matter if you were showing symptoms, you HAD to put it on to be seen. The doctors entered the room wearing fresh disposable gowns, gloves and masks too, and removed them right outside the door. Halifax didn't want another year like 2009.

So maybe anyone who wants to not get the shot should be given the opportunity to provide their own disposable items to keep the patients safer. I'm sure the flu shot costs a lot less too.

I have no problem protecting the patient as long as I'm not damaging myself in return.

ETA, paper gowns and masks is a far better option IMO because even though it's not as cost effective, it's not invasive. I'm not worried about the side effects of paper once I'm off shift.
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  #24  
August 31st, 2011, 03:14 PM
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I'm fine with it. My Dh runs food service for a hospital & he and all of his workers are required to get the flu shot. He isn't an employee of the hospital but an employee of a company that the hospital contract to provide the food service.
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  #25  
August 31st, 2011, 03:41 PM
KimberlyD0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxfire_ga79 View Post
For someone whose body has resisted the flu for 32 years, vaccinating for a sickness I'm not prone to is an unnecessary risk.
Thats a very selfish way to view it. "I'm not at risk so its not my problem." (I am NOT saying your selfish btw)

I used to view it the same way as you.

Then I had DD#2 and found that it wasn't like I thought. Here I was with an immunocomprimised child who could die from something as simple as the flu. Suddenly the risks to me seemed pretty Minuit in comparison. Then my dad contracted cancer, he was also at risk and his risks of dieing of flu complications far exceeded the risks to myself.

When your working with people who can DIE from the flu I personally feel this is a good policy. The risks of the flu to these patients far exceed the risks of the vaccine itself.

This is why I now will be ensuring I get my flu shot yearly in my new chosen field. I will be working as a resource teacher, teaching special needs children, many who will have health issues to consider. I don't want to be responsible for someone else's death.

I would never allow an unvaccinated medical personal near my child when she is ill because its her life thats at risk. Her life and the life of other patients is just too important to risk.
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  #26  
August 31st, 2011, 04:34 PM
tiredmom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho06 View Post
I never claimed it to be an all or nothing thought process. A vaccine will do nothing more than protect the worker from being an active carrier and most likely needing to take time off to recover. The staff will still become passive carriers via their clothing, equipment etc. One does not have to be sick with anything to pass it along. Why not just have those working who are in contact with patients, especially those who are at risk, wear a mask to help prevent the possible transmission of the flu? Seems like a better alternative for those who choose not to get the vaccine than termination IMO
Barrier protection can help reduce the spread of influenza, but only when used effectively. Additionally, it does not have the data to support the significant reduction in morbidity and mortality that use of the influenza vaccine has. People can be contagious a day before onset of any flu-like symptoms. Also young and healthy HCW may manifest only mild symptoms which may be mistaken for a cold. So to be effective, HCW must wear mask and gloves in all patient areas regardless of if they are exhibiting symptoms. I believe, as do the hospitals, that it needs to be a combination of a fully vaccinated staff, plus the routine use of masks and hand hygiene to be effective at reducing transmission. Additionally, the phenomenon of “presenteeism” where HCW feel the need to come to work even when displaying symptoms needs to stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxfire_ga79 View Post
Yes they should. Medicines that are administered should be given to the person DIRECTLY benefiting from it. If I won't benefit from a drug, don't try and get me to put it into my system. A job cannot demand that you take health risks to benefit other people.

And yea, making sure I had my vaccinations and titers was about me. They didn't want to take the risk of me getting cut by something and getting tetanus. They didn't want to treat me if I got hepatitis on the job. Anything that happened to me on the job was on them.

I can't speak for every area in the medical field, but I can tell you that in EMS, both where I worked and where DH works now, medical workers are not expected to put aside risks to their own health for the sake of the patients.
Maybe it's different for people who work in the hospital though. Apparently they aren't allowed to think of their own health anymore. Like I said, if faced with that ultimatum, that hospital would lose me as an employee. And seeing how the article says a hospital never got more than 65% voluntary vaccinations, I'm guessing they're willing to lose 35% of their employees. But hey, at least the patients won't have to worry about catching the flu as it takes them 8 hours to see a nurse and even longer for a doctor once the hospitals are that far understaffed, so there's a silver lining to this cloud!

This is a debate about and I was referring to the influenza vaccine, not tetanus or hepatitis vaccines.


Mandatory vaccination can and does occur in various health care systems. The article you sited notes two other hospital systems. In addition to that there are: BJC Health care, Virginia Mason Medical Center, The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Hospital Corporation of America. They have all done it without the severe increase in unfilled positions that you suggest. The majority of HCW who do not get vaccinated is not due to some notion of potential long term adverse effect from the vaccine, but due to more mundane problems with access, lack of time, a general dislike of needles, the erroneous belief that flu shots cause the flu, and lack of awareness of flu shot benefits.
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  #27  
August 31st, 2011, 05:55 PM
Poncho06's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I see no issue with having those who choose not to receive the vaccine wear protective equipment at all times while on hospital property working. If they are then unable to meet the conditions of proper precautions then by all means terminate them. I feel there needs to be an alternative to injecting anything into a person under duress of loosing ones job and not leaving any space for those who choose not to vaccinate for religious/philosophical reasons.

I to totally agree that presenteeism in the workplace needs to stop not just in healthcare but other fields as well. IMHO being a fantastic worker also includes not spreading your germs to an office full of people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredmom View Post
Barrier protection can help reduce the spread of influenza, but only when used effectively. Additionally, it does not have the data to support the significant reduction in morbidity and mortality that use of the influenza vaccine has. People can be contagious a day before onset of any flu-like symptoms. Also young and healthy HCW may manifest only mild symptoms which may be mistaken for a cold. So to be effective, HCW must wear mask and gloves in all patient areas regardless of if they are exhibiting symptoms. I believe, as do the hospitals, that it needs to be a combination of a fully vaccinated staff, plus the routine use of masks and hand hygiene to be effective at reducing transmission. Additionally, the phenomenon of “presenteeism” where HCW feel the need to come to work even when displaying symptoms needs to stop.


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  #28  
August 31st, 2011, 06:17 PM
foxfire_ga79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredmom View Post
Barrier protection can help reduce the spread of influenza, but only when used effectively. Additionally, it does not have the data to support the significant reduction in morbidity and mortality that use of the influenza vaccine has. People can be contagious a day before onset of any flu-like symptoms. Also young and healthy HCW may manifest only mild symptoms which may be mistaken for a cold. So to be effective, HCW must wear mask and gloves in all patient areas regardless of if they are exhibiting symptoms. I believe, as do the hospitals, that it needs to be a combination of a fully vaccinated staff, plus the routine use of masks and hand hygiene to be effective at reducing transmission. Additionally, the phenomenon of “presenteeism” where HCW feel the need to come to work even when displaying symptoms needs to stop.



This is a debate about and I was referring to the influenza vaccine, not tetanus or hepatitis vaccines.


Mandatory vaccination can and does occur in various health care systems. The article you sited notes two other hospital systems. In addition to that there are: BJC Health care, Virginia Mason Medical Center, The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Hospital Corporation of America. They have all done it without the severe increase in unfilled positions that you suggest. The majority of HCW who do not get vaccinated is not due to some notion of potential long term adverse effect from the vaccine, but due to more mundane problems with access, lack of time, a general dislike of needles, the erroneous belief that flu shots cause the flu, and lack of awareness of flu shot benefits.
That is probably the biggest actual factor. That ALONE would cause a drastic reduction in spreading the flu.
And it's really no surprise to me that people who make a living off of RXing and selling drugs would be singing the praises of a big money maker. Everybody over 6 months old needs this shot every year for the rest of their life! Yay!!! JACKPOT!! So saying that hospitals agree with mandatory vaccination is pretty much just like the dairy industry trumpeting how awesome milk is. Yea sure, some people have reactions/allergies to milk, but by golly everybody else needs needs needs it!!
They see people who say they won't let their kids around others who don't have flu shots and their eyes just light right up.

And yea I'm being selfish. Everybody has their limits. It's like one nurse in the article said, it's about where you decide to draw the line. Obviously most people in the medical field at all are willing to take SOME risks to help patients. But this is my line. I guess it looks funny coming from someone willing to squish into a destroyed car leaking toxic fluids, but in my mind the risks and benefits are way different. Big risk to me, but an almost guarantee that if I didn't get in there quickly enough the patient would die. The vaccination is a smaller risk to me, but even if I take it it won't guarantee the patient won't get the flu. In those reports listed here even the hospitals with mandatory vaccination still had patients getting the flu. And even if a patient gets the flu, they're still probably not going to die from it. And even if I DON'T get vaccinated, I'm still not very likely to give a patient the flu.
So laid out flat--I'm willing to take a risk that will benefit the patient more than it might hurt me. From what I've read, the level of potential benefit to the patients doesn't outweigh the level of potential risks to me.

This is just not something I'm prepared to budge on at this time. My perspective might change in the future, it has before. But if this decision were on my shoulders today I would quit my job before doing something to myself I was not comfortable with. I do not trust this vaccination.
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  #29  
August 31st, 2011, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredmom View Post

Were I to be admitted to a hospital, I would choose a hospital where all employees are vaxed over one where it were only voluntary (all other things being equal).
ITA

If upset workers were willing to provide their own disposable protective gear then I wouldn't mind that, either. I can see why the workers could be upset, but in the end hospitals are there to help people get well and physical contact is a regular part of their job. Their decisions affect more than just them.
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  #30  
September 4th, 2011, 10:00 AM
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IMPO: Making it mandatory is just making the drug companies more money. The hospital gives their flu shots to the employees for free as part of their "medical coverage" (at least the ones in my city) to encourage more employees to get them. HOWEVER, the hosital pays the pharmaceutical company for this. Someone always pays. Of course, it's going to be "recommended" to get the flu shot and bonus: if it becomes mandatory for healthcare providers, the companies make even more!

Aside from that, though, there's the religious aspect. Many people do not get vaccines because it's against their religion. By requiring vaccinations for ALL hospital workers "or else", they're actually crossing some lines. I understand patient safety, but this is an airborne illness, and many people who get the vaccination STILL GET THE FLU! The patients that walk in who do have it are the ones likely to accidentally spread the illness.

For EVERYOE but most especially healthcare providers: Washing hands is key, Not sneezing/coughing in someone's face or on something (ie. your computer desk), and not going into work sick is also helpful.

Also remember, the flu vaccines are based on previous strains. So, basically THIS YEARS flu shot is from the flu that happened last year. The mutations that naturally occur will be "this year's flu" and no one will be protected from it as a vaccine is not in existence.
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  #31  
September 4th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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People feel they will lose their jobs if they're absent, thats why they come in sick. That's how MY DH got H1N1. Someone from work came in with it because he'd missed a week, and blew all his vacation time and so couldn't miss any more work. Personally, I think employers should MAKE SURE that sick employees (not just a cold or simple cough, but things like Flu, Strep, etc...) stay home until a doctor clears them or send them home. There is no reason to infect everyone. Yes, I know we all need money, but I'm sick of everyone using their "woe is me" problems when they are affecting other people's lives.

If you're sick STAY HOME! And employers need to make it very clear that they will not tolerate abusing sick time. This may make it easier when person really is sick to have the "sick" time they should have. Instead of taking it when they are not really ill and then complaining about it later.
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