Weekly Poll: Mandatory flu shots causing an uproar

By: October 11th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Hospitals have been trying to enforce mandatory flu shots for all hospital workers to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. A woman in South Carolina even filed a lawsuit against a hospital after it threatened to fire her if she didn’t get a flu shot. Both sides were expressed passionately. Check out a recent blog post, especially the comments.

If you were in the hospital and found out a hospital worker transmitted a disease to you because of poor infection control, how would you react? Take our poll and let us know.

Quizzes by Quibblo.com


Most hospitals require staff to be immunized from measles, mumps and rubella. The recent addition of influenza is causing as stir, but in reality has a larger impact than the other diseases that are under control because of the immunization policies. Influenza should be under the same guidelines. The problem is that influenza is a community-born disease, and therefore cannot be specifically traced to a patient-care setting. Education will empower healthcare providers to know the value of flu shots.

I agree with Bob Salter.

By Maureen Galvin on October 12th, 2010 at 10:29 am

I agree with Bob Salter. As with any vaccines they are for the protection of the community. MMR, Varicella, HBV vaccines have all been developed and mandated for the protection of all. Why not the Influenza vaccine as well?

By Mary Byrnes on October 13th, 2010 at 7:39 am

I have a question. How are you certain the the patient wasn’t cooking with the flu prior to admission ( when there are no obvious symptoms/signs )? And, how about the employee who comes into contact with a patient who is cooking with something as well? To sue the hospital should not be an option.

By Janet Sullivan on October 14th, 2010 at 9:51 am

Immunizations will prevent disease transmission from asymptomatic infected patients and asymptomatic carriers. In my mind, this is yet another compelling reason to mandate flu vaccine. As a HCW myself, I practice Standard precautions to protect myself and others from communicable diseases. I consider immunizations for all the vaccine preventable diseases to be a part of Standard precautions. We should place more emphasis on preventing infections and diseases rather than controlling/curing once they occur.

By Victoria Carroll on October 15th, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I would base my decision on the severity of the infection and the outcome when considering whether to seek legal action. Several years ago my husband contracted a Candida septicemia from an implanted venous device. I repetaedly saw nursing staff violate infection control measures that are basic nursing. I spoke to administration on two occasions with minimal changes in behavior. Fortunately his outcome was good, but I did consider legal action at the time of diagnosis.

From the perspective of a RN with 18+ years hospital experience, there are many more facets to the debate over mandated influenza vaccination than “a right to refuse” the vaccine. In addition to one’s right as an educated individual to make informed decisions regarding their personal healthcare choices, what about their right to compensation should they suffer physical complications and financial loss due to receiving a mandated vaccine? Will possible side effects of the vaccination be covered by the facility’s worker’s compensation? Will missed days from work due to commonly resulting flu like symptoms be paid time off courtesy of the mandating facility or count against the employee’s annual evaluation as absences from the workplace? In the event serious complications occur, will hospitalization costs be absorbed by the mandating facility or be left to deplete family resources? Sounds ridiculous and unlikely? Many patient care facilities already “encourage” employees to remain home if showing symptoms of cold or flu in the interest of patient safety while also marking these absences against the employee’s evaluation. In effect, the healthcare employee is punitively encouraged to continue working while sick.

Let’s look at another area of patient safety in the health care setting. As Victoria described, the violation of basic infection control policies is a major issue yet receives little to no media recognition in comparison to this debate. The inpatient spread of MRSA (an antibiotic resistant staff infection commonly spread by poor handwashing) results in many complications and inpatient deaths per year, yet organizations are receiving favorable media coverage garnered by mandating vaccines while consistently understaffing patient care areas. Understaffing = overworked = poor compliance to standards of care = infection = loss of life or limb. Simple solution? Quit threatening healthcare staff with termination over a flu shot and make patient care a priority over profit margin.

By No Flu Shots on January 7th, 2014 at 2:18 am

The big difference between Flu shots and other vaccines is that the Flu shot must be reinvented every year because the influenza virus mutates. In order to protect people from the Flu the CDC must “guess” what the flu will “look like” by the time it gets to the U.S. And they are never completely right. So, the flu shot starts out as a crap shoot. So, besides the fact it can cause some very serious side effects, it isn’t even that effective in preventing the flu.

By Hold your breathe on December 19th, 2015 at 12:35 am

All the patients sitting in the waiting room need to hold their breathe! A health care facility has a general reception/ waiting room area. Great the staff who are all licensed health care professionals may have a flu shot, only affective if proper strain is targeted. Everyone else in the building not employed is a potential risk… Why not require all patients or their guest that enter building with them to get the flu shot before entering the building or seek care elsewhere? Go big or go home with your mandatory flu shot! All in the name of the dollar for profit.


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