Mandating Flu Vaccines: What Employers Should Know

istock_mcbrugg_vaccine.jpg

istock_mcbrugg_vaccine
istock_mcbrugg_vaccine
Share this content
Tags
14

Seasonal flu is not only unpleasant for employers and employees, it's expensive. Each flu season, nearly 111 million workdays are lost because of the flu, the US Department of Health & Human Services has found. That represents approximately $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity.

It's no wonder that some companies are considering requiring that employees get a flu vaccine every flu season. However, before implementing such a requirement, companies need to consider many different factors. While a flu vaccine offers the greatest protection against the virus, mandating it carries its own logistical costs and can lead to unhappy employees.

During the last flu season, a hospital in northern Indiana fired eight workers who refused to get vaccines against the seasonal disease. According to several media reports, IU Health Goshen Hospital had instituted a policy requiring employees to get flu shots. Several employees balked at getting the shots and tried to seek exemptions. The hospital decided not to grant exemptions and terminated the workers when they refused to change their minds. 

For the hospital, maintaining a healthy work environment was critical. "IU Health's top priority is the health and well-being of our patients," the hospital announced in a press release. "As a trusted leader in caring for people and advancing health, we are responsible for delivering the best care in the safest environment. Influenza can be fatal for patients with weakened immune systems, children, and the elderly. Therefore, participation in the annual Influenza Patient Safety Program is a condition of employment with IU Health for the safety and health of the patients that we serve."

If your company is considering a mandatory approach, here's what you need to know in order to achieve the organization's goals of a healthier work environment while minimizing legal risk and worker discontent. 

Please Login or Register to read the full article

To access all of the content on our site, register (it's free!) or login to your existing account.

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

HOW ABOUT WE HAVE THESE COMPANIES COMPILE NON-PHARMA FUNDED RESEARCH TO SHOW THE EFFECTIVENESS OF VACCINES ALONG WITH THE SIDE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH THEM, ALSO PLEASE BE SURE TO INCLUDE RESEARCH ON THE 4 FOLD INCREASE OF THE FLU AFTER THE FLU VACCINATION!

Thanks (0)

Note that "60% effective" means something like the following:

"The combined results of these trials showed that under ideal conditions
(vaccine completely matching circulating viral configuration) 33 healthy
adults need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. In
average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be
vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. Vaccine use did not
affect the number of people hospitalised or working days lost but caused
one case of Guillian-Barré syndrome (a major neurological condition
leading to paralysis) for every one million vaccinations. Fifteen of the
36 trials were funded by vaccine companies and four had no funding
declaration. Our results may be an optimistic estimate because
company-sponsored influenza vaccines trials tend to produce results
favorable to their products and some of the evidence comes from trials
carried out in ideal viral circulation and matching conditions and
because the harms evidence base is limited.. " -- Cochrane Summaries, "Vaccines to prevent influenza in healthy adults"

Also from the summary:

"Over 200 viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness which produce
the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches and pains, cough and runny
noses). Without laboratory tests, doctors cannot tell the two illnesses
apart. Both last for days and rarely lead to death or serious illness.
At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza A and B,
which represent about 10% of all circulating viruses. Each year, the
World Health Organization recommends which viral strains should be
included in vaccinations for the forthcoming season."

Thanks (0)

I would never work for a company which mandated flu vaccines (or vaccines of any kind). I am 51 years old and have never had a problem with the flu. If you limit your dietary intake of sugars to unprocessed foods (e.g., fruits, root vegetables, etc.), and get sufficient sleep, most people would be much more healthy, including suffering extremely mild forms of viral illnesses.

Thanks (0)

LOL. Really? Mandating flu vaccines doesn't just lead to "unhappy employees", it leads to Civil Rights violations.

Thanks (0)

It is not a civil right violations. Working in the healthcare industry, such as a hospital, an employee assumes additional responsibility to the public. I am a nurse, and every hospital I have worked at has mandated flu shots for all employees. We deal with very sick patients with compromised immune systems. We have an obligation to do everything possible to keep them safe. While the flu shot is only about 60% effective, it's better than nothing. We are doing our best to protect our patients.

Thanks (0)

microglial inflammation associated with Alzheimer's. Flu vax inflames microglia

Thanks (0)

Thank you! I have been saying this all over facebook and being attacked! My grandmother never missed a flu shot and died from the effects of Alzheimers. My dad who also has never missed a flu shot now has Alzheimers. These illnesses were not as prevalent years ago when we didn't force these vaccines. People say that those of us who take this stance are using fear to get people to listen to us (ie., mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde). I counter with "the same could be said about the CDC and Drug companies who say there will be a FLU outbreak and thousands will die".

Thanks (0)

I'm a nurse as well and while I personally disagree with forcing the Flu Vaccine for many reasons I can see the reason for mandating it for healthcare workers with direct patient contact. I, however, am an administrative nurse and. Have no face to face patient contact yet my employer requires all nurses receive the flu vaccine. Why should I have to have a vaccine I don't believe to beneficial injected in my body or risk termination? Especially since I do not work with any at risk populations?

Thanks (0)

According to parts of a paper submitted by

Kristy L. Williams, LL.B, LL.M candidate

"The Supreme Court in Jacobson v Massachusetts has held that four elements should be considered in determining whether a mandatory immunization was justified in the name of public health namely: necessity, reasonable means, proportionality, harm avoidance. Due to the low effectiveness of influenza vaccine, it makes this more difficult to justify. Also, all employees potentially have rights that may be infringed by mandatory vaccination policies under the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA");19 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964 title VII.20 Although most mandatory vaccination policies contain exemptions where there is a valid medical reason, even if the absence of an express exemption, an exemption would likely be required under the ADA with the need for such an exemption increasing as the vaccine effectiveness decreases. The Equal Opportunity Employment commission stated that "[a]n employee may be entitled to an exemption from a mandatory vaccination requirement based on an ADA disability that prevents him from taking the influenza vaccine. This would be a reasonable accommodation barring undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense)".21 As the effectiveness of a vaccine decreases, it will become increasingly difficult for an employer to demonstrate a case of undue hardship as in the case of a vaccine that is 60% effective, it will be difficult to justify not granting exceptions where 40% of people who have received the vaccine may be in the same position to contract and transmit influenza as the person seeking the exemption. Furthermore, there is a lack of evidence that other measures such as hand washing, face masks, and liberal sick leave or policies encouraging employees not to attend work while ill would not be as effective as the low level of protection provided by influenza vaccination at reducing influenza transmission within a hospital, making it difficult to demonstrate undue hardship."
The flu vaccine has not reduced patient influenza cases. The study that started all of the mandatory flu vaccination has been found to have been flawed. Subsequent studies and meta-analyses have shown that mandatory flu vaccination for healthcare workers does not decrease patient influenza cases.
The United States was founded on freedoms. The government requiring you to get a flu vaccine or you will lose your job denies those basic freedoms and is tantamount to communism.

Thanks (0)

We have started a petition against this mandate. We believe it should be the parents choice and not have it forced on our children. Please sign our petition and share it on Facebook if possible we could use your helping getting it out there.

http://www.ipetitions.com/peti...

Thanks (0)

I don't believe that any Employer should have the right to mandate that you put any type of Injection (drug) into your body without your consent - What's next?

Thanks (0)

Go to hell with your shots. I don't do flu shots, heroin shots or any kind of drug shots.

Thanks (0)

The flu shot has and does hurt many healthy people each year. If it was so safe they why are lawsuits blocked? Some vaccines are made with aborted baby fetal cells...sooooo evil.

Thanks (0)

What if I lied about taking the flu shot. Can my employer prove that I didn't have the flu shot?

Thanks (0)