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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Flu Vaccine Mandate

Published July 23, 2012 10:50 AM by Rich Krisher
It's the middle of summer and flu season seems a long way off, but a new Joint Commission requirement that went into effect July 1 serves as a reminder about an often controversial topic: mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers.

The Joint Commission is not mandating influenza vaccine for accredited organizations, but it is establishing a fairly aggressive plan toward that end. Starting July 1, 2012, and continuing in phases until July 1, 2013, accredited organizations must establish annual influenza vaccination programs for all staff and licensed independent practitioners. They must educate staff and practitioners about the vaccine; control and prevention measures outside the vaccination regime; and the diagnosis, transmission and impact of influenza.

Organizations must create a plan to meet incremental goals on the way to achieving a 90 percent flu vaccination rate by 2020. With the current rate among healthcare workers below 60 percent, that's more than a 50 percent increase.

A handful of states have laws covering flu vaccination for healthcare workers, but most often it's a condition enforced by individual employers. It's been a hot-button topic in recent years, and an online cottage industry has sprung up to advise healthcare workers of their rights and exemptions regarding such mandates. "I've developed guidelines that have helped hundreds of people and families around the U.S. successfully avoid vaccines in over a dozen different exemption contexts," writes North Carolina attorney Alan Phillips at his website, www.vaccinerights.com.

On the other side is the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), which is supported in part by the CDC. "The best way to prevent transmission of influenza to our patients is to mandate vaccination of healthcare workers," reads the introduction to the IAC's Honor Roll for Patient Safety, which includes more than 150 healthcare organizations in 38 states that have influenza vaccination mandates.

The Joint Commission is calling for a program that mirrors state laws requiring healthcare employers to offer flu vaccines and education. It's a common-sense approach to address the long-standing problem of low vaccination rates among healthcare workers, who are in a great position to curb the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

Does your employer require you to receive a vaccine as a condition of employment? What do you think about the trend?

48 comments

I would like to share what happened to me. iN 2010 I got the flu shot. 3 we3eks later I noticed my thighs were aching. I was an OR nurse and thought it was because of a long weekend on call.3 weeks later I could not get OOB. I was diagnosed with GB syndrome,spent a  year in a nursing home learning how to walk again, I could not even turn over in bed without help.Here it is 3 years later,I satill walk with a quad cane and am on disability. My mortgage and bills are the same except I NOW LIVE on 1900 a month on a forced budget. I get food stamps and can barely pay my bills. iT SUCKS DO NOT GET THE FLU SHOT

patricia patterson, `rn December 10, 2013 11:43 PM
rochester NY

I am a former paramedic, and received the flu & pneumonia vaccines twice in the past and became very ill on both occasions the following days after receiving the vaccines.  I vowed after the second time I would never take the vaccine again.  Since then I have developed numerous food & environmental allergies and sensitivities.  I have been tested for allergies and discovered more allergies and sensitivities through self-elimination studies I have done.  Currently my employer has informed me that if I decline the flu vaccine this year I would be required to wear a mask for my entire work day hours.  I originally refused and was suspended from work, returned to work and endured wearing a mask for a couple of weeks.  Then was informed that I did not need to wear the mask until a confirmed case of the flu was present at our facility.  So for the time being I can continue to work "mask free."  (I will be paid for my days suspension.)

I am a dedicated healthcare professional, and have a great fear of this vaccine.  In 2011 I earned my bachelor's degree in healthcare management and now because of this vaccine my entire livelihood is in jeopardy.  This is so overwhelmingly unbelievable!!!!

I have been working with state groups and any institutions that are against flu vaccine mandates.  Everyone needs to "weigh in" on this after doing their own research and getting all the facts.  Please understand I am not against the development and offering of the vaccine, but I don't believe it should be forced upon a targeted group of people who are truly just trying to do what is best for everyone, including themselves.

Mary, healthcare - clerk, hospital November 4, 2013 1:31 PM
Bessemer MI

What is the real reason for mandatory vaccinations. Public health, really?   Who's paying for all these shots and where is this money going?  

Chat against yourselves.

David oge, dental - dental hygienist October 30, 2013 12:37 PM
queens NY

Oh no! Hope you are getting your eenrgy back soon and that London still is in the cards! Ser verkligen fram emot massor med inspiration fraan din helt underbara blogg! Gott nytt! Ox, Monika

Yolanda Yolanda, BhUoPURyzpHW - dKdiQNsyQtZZNdJTeEO, CfXBYdopqAQsvAM April 14, 2013 10:46 PM
YVtMtjkHhBGHuy KY

I have just started nursing school and was mandated to receive a tetanus doctor gave me when the document clearly said tetanus booster (TDaP) and Hep B vaccine and did so in mid-May of last year.  5 days after those vaccines I began having tingling, severe pain and numbness in my arms which later spread to my feet.  This continued until late October.  I also developed a tremor in my neck, shoulders back wrists ankles and legs.  The tremor was noticed by me in June, I had been feeling shaky and clumsy and I didn’t realize why.  I also have all over body twitching since sometime in June.  The tremors have not gone away nor has the twitching and it has been 9 months.  I have been to neurologists and doctors who have run a ton of tests, but given me no answer as to what happened to me.  Now I am required to have a flu vaccine and I do not want one due to my symptoms by I do want to be a nurse.  I will apply for a medical exemption but I fear I may never be an RN as I had wished.  People who have not witnesses or lived the damage that can happen with vaccines will never understand.  I would be the incidents of vaccine injury will increase with the increase of people getting the vaccines.

Also the vaccine injury compensation will only cover certain disabilities (if you haven’t looked at it in detail you should most people will look at it when they have experienced a reaction not before) and many people are unable to prove it to the extent that they require asking the victims to jump through hoops with flames repeatedly before they are satisfied.  As a matter of fact it’s very specific naming exactly what your injury must be and where it must be with each vaccine as well as time frame for development of the injury.  If you don’t fit the profile to a tee your out of luck.  It’s very difficult for people to prove or have a case when doctors blow you off and play the wait and see game with your life.  The government created an escape route to protect themselves and it’s a small price to pay for the profits they make from getting (eventually) every single person (long term goal) vaccinated!   If the people who object don’t do something we will continue to be victims without a voice.  I , I am 42 years old and was a military dependent all my life overseas and have many vaccines.  I have never had an adverse reaction to a vaccine that I am aware of until now.  I am thankful not to be paralyzed or in pain but I am not happy that my body will not function as it did prior to my vaccines.  I’m sure the formula for each vaccine is always updated with new technology; in essence we are likely all gunny pigs for modified vaccines that have not been tested.

Judy, Nurse - Student February 18, 2013 4:56 PM
CT

The following is a guest blog posted by Rich Krisher, editor of ADVANCE for Nurses. Flu season has arrived

January 22, 2013 2:47 PM

I have never and will never get a flu shot.  I'm awaiting my pink slip from my job.  Honestly they are just going to push me out of health care and I'm too old to start something else.  So when UI runs out  I'll be off to the welfare department.  

michele, RN January 17, 2013 4:51 PM
NY

As a veteran nurse, I have more than a few issues with forcing nurses to receive the flu vaccine. If it is mandatory, then why discriminate....the entire population should be getting it!!! On the flip side, assuming the vaccine works (which I have yet to see a season where they say it did come Spring) if I've had it and the patients haven't, I may not get it, but I am still shedding the virus while my body is fighting if off. So ethically , the argument doesn't make a bit of sense!!! Education is never a bad thing. I have no problem with teaching the public or the health care workers. What I do have a problem with is only sharing information about one side of the coin.  Where is the literature/studies that document how effective the vaccines are and that the benefits outweigh the risks??? I have looked and I certainly can't find it!!! I have however found loads of reputable information regarding the risks concerning cancer/neurological  problems associated with the vaccine. If the administration/hospitals/JACHO is so concerned about health care workers transmitting the flu to immunocompromised patients where is their concern regarding HIV positive and Hepatitis positive surgeons who operate??? Why aren't the nurses who are being fired/discriminated against filing class action law suits and where are the attorneys when we need them???

Stacy, Case Management - RN January 13, 2013 5:17 PM
Romulus MI

I am saddened to see so many fellow medical professionals perpetuate the spread of such misinformation regarding influenza vaccination. i.e. Debra from NJ " we bypass the bodies natural defense system and inject them with a watered down version........I urge people especially those in the medical professions to get the basics regarding immunology and how vaccines actually work while I am not for mandatory vaccination I am completely against ignorant misinformation btw to work in a hospital it is mandatory to have immunity to measles, mumps and rubella and varicella why is this tolerable to all of those against mandatory flu vaccine

Carolyn Bender, Infection Prevention - RN January 10, 2013 8:26 PM
NY

It might interest you to know that the flu vaccine being used this year is NOT effective against the strain of flu going around. Lots of people that took the flu vaccine, including myself( it was mandated where I work) have and are still coming down with the flu.I cannot understand why everyone is still pushing people to take a vaccine that is ineffective unless it is a money issue

Karen Southard January 2, 2013 10:21 PM

My wife an RN just lost her job on Friday for refusing to be forced into getting a flu shot by the hospital she worked at. I am not in healthcare, but trying to help her. Do any of you out there have any advice on where else an RN should look for work where the shot will not be required? Anyone had any luck post-shot refusal?

Brian January 2, 2013 12:44 PM

I teach a fitness class on the hospital campus.  I never have healthcare workers in my class at all.  I am required to have the shot if the 'board' doesn't review my exemption in time.  

What happened?  Did the drug companies make a bunch of vaccines during the non-pandemic H1N1 virus outbreak of a couple of years ago and now they are trying to get rid of it?

Katie Dancer December 28, 2012 5:51 PM

Why dont all those forced to take a flu vaccine create a legal document that states: "since it is a requirement to obtain flu vaccine in order to keep this job, should there be any current or future adverse responses to this forced medical treatment, the employing party agrees to pay all future medical expenses, lost wages at the full and current rate of pay, paid help for all help required around the house and transportation charges (should the loss of ability to drive occur) etc" you get the idea, and have them sign such accepting responsibility of making you an unwitting part of medical research.  I am certain their is some attorney out there that could draft such, and it would violate your legal right to integrity of person by forcing you to have such, therefore you should be compensated for your risk taking.  Argument being, if the flu vaccine is as innocent as they believe it to be, then they shouldn't have any reason to not sign such.  Most likely this should be a class action suit for each work group.  Those who are for flu vaccines (your coworkers) should not object to being protected in the advent that there is an adverse event, nor that you should be protected if it occurs to you.  The only one who will not want such on the books is your employer and the vaccine companies, who will claim there is already legislation that protects the vaccine manufacturers for damage done mostly to children.  However, children do not have a livelihood to protect, so therefore the current vaccine injury fund was not designed to protect the impact upon a fully functioning medical professional and their future income potential.

Just a thought.

Cam McB December 24, 2012 11:38 AM

the erosion of our rights to help vaccine manufacturers sell drugs is one of the scariest things i have encountered in my professional carreer. I do not personally object to the vaccine but i highly object to being forced to take it. the reasoning for the vaccine is spurious at best and downright intentionally dishonest at worst. I believe as in most things healthcare you can follow a trail of dirty dollars long enough and solve this little riddle.

roger, ICU - RN, ET December 11, 2012 1:43 AM
Tyler TX

Like so many of you, I feel your pain...literally! If I don't get the flu shot by 12/15, I will lose the job that I've had for the last 14 years.  For me, it's more than feeling like it's a violation of my rights.  I've had 2 serious reactions to the flu shot - one back in 2006 when my daughter was only 5 months old.  I made the voluntary choice to get vaccinated to help protect her.  Because of the reaction I had, I waited 4 years to try it again (probably from all the media hype and whatnot.  Anyway, I fooled myself into believing the first reacton was just a weird fluke).

The second time, in 2010, I had it done while working our Employee Health Fair and my reaction was even worse.  It was witnessed by my co-worker and department director.  A few hours after receiving the shot, I started to feel bad and it progressively got worse - my eyes swelled and kept filling with a thick, white substance.  I felt weak, dizzy and nauseated.  I went into the bathroom (barely able to stand) and looked in the mirror.  I looked absolutely HORRIBLE - incredibly pale.  I managed to walk a short distance and then I just couldn't go any farther.  I sat in a main hallway in our hosptial crumpled over, unable to move.  My deparment director walked down the stairs and found me - she freaked out! Her and another held onto me and we went to employee health.  They took my blood pressure and it was alarmingly low.  They wanted me to go the ER but instead I had them take me home - you know how when you feel miserable you just want to be at home.

All of this has been documented, my director wrote an email stating how she found me, how I was "a scary shad of grey" and so forth.  My own doctor wrote a letter that stated he feels it is medically necessary that I do not receieve the flu vaccine due to the severity of the reaction and STILL my declination has been denied.  

Please tell me how our hospital's "Influenza Vaccination Declination Review Team" has the authority to override my own physican's recommendation. REALLY!?!?!      

This is so wrong!!!!!!

Courtney December 8, 2012 1:25 PM
IN

I have over 15 years as an excellent employee.  Now my guess is I'm going to be fired.  They want me to submit to allergy testing and then get flu vaccine.  I can do neither. Wow, gotta get used to being a bag lady for real...

Cheryl, healthcare - lab, clinic December 2, 2012 7:29 PM
Seattle WA

OMG I am glad to know I am not the only one who feels being a nurse is making me give up my rights! Why not vaccinate ALL patients against their will n see what happens. How come they have rights but we dont anymore. This is all a money maker for the government..who I dont think would ever protect us from something unsafe!! I am stopping my BSN pursuit and going into a nrw line of work ASAP!!

Sue, RN December 1, 2012 12:17 AM

Do I really want to go into nursing?

I just finished up CNA class and clinicals lat weekend since the school I am looking at gives acceptance brownie points for CNA certs.  I keep hearing how nursing is an excellent field and from my nurse friends how they need strong male nurses and bilingual nurses, which I am both.  

However,  this flu-shot thing has really got me reevaluating my career path.  I used to be a corrections officer and we had mandated flu-shots there.  The last year I took the shot I got VERY sick with high-fever within 24 hours after taking the shot.  It left me so weak I could hardly do my job and I was very  nervous being that weak while interacting and working with the inmates.  

I figure I may be willing to risk it and take one or two shots to get my foot in the door but to tell you the truth, this really worries me and I don't think I would dare do it long term.

I wonder if they make teachers take the flu-shot...?  I  might need to reassess the situation.

Nate B, Nursing - Student November 20, 2012 12:51 PM
Provo UT

I am equally frustrated with the new flu vaccination mandate...or else the "mask" and corrective action if not in compliance. I made a switch this past summer to go all natural / holistic with both what I eat and what I do, and now I have to put a chemical into my body, that I don't need...and as others have said is a crap shoot at best. I feel extremely violated of my rights as a human being. I need to have medical proof or religious proof as to why the flu vaccine is contraindicated. What about my personal belief? I have no proof that this is related, but I do have a benign cyst in my left deltoid that came about sometime after the H1N1 vaccination I had received here at work, and I do not intend on requiring subsequent plastic surgery to remove more cysts potentially caused by routine injections of chemicals. I refuse to put my body through this. Though most people tell me to just go through with it and be done with this mess, it is against what I believe in and I do not feel I should have to comply against my will.

Katy G, ICU - Pediatric Nurse, Children's Hospital November 17, 2012 10:07 AM

I think requiring nurses that don't get their flu shot to wear a mask is against our basic freedom.  Really, unless all people that don't get the flu shot wear a mask the thought of stoping the spread of flu is a total fantasy.  

My question:  if the flu shot is aloud to have this power over folks Where will it stop in the future?

Second hand smoke is dangerous are we going to make it against the law for people to smoke outside their homes?  

I got my flu shot and I don't smoke, but I see basic freedoms beginning to erode.

.

Pam , Nursing - Rn November 16, 2012 11:00 AM

Our hospital is not mandating the vaccine, but if you decline you must wear the "MASK."  Not only that but a button that states you wear the mask to protect the patients.  If you get the vaccine your button says you got the vaccine to protect your patients.  Why not label me with a scarlet letter!  I can not believe that other facilities are mandating the vaccine.  This is my body and I will chose what I put into it!  How dare JCAHO create the monster.  We are told not to over antibiotic people...but go ahead and vaccinate the hell out of the population and create a monster flu bug!  The vaccine is a crap shoot at best!  How dare you tell me that I am putting people at risk if I do not get the vaccine.  Shame on you!  I will not compromise my beliefs.  If it means a legal course of action, so be it.  We need to have CHOICES.  Freedom is what our country is about.  This is not the biggest issue our country faces, but you would never know it.  We should spend our time pursing things that really have impacts on our life, liberty and happiness.

Cindy, Nursing - Charge RN November 14, 2012 3:15 PM
Weston WI

To answer the question to the person that thinks that bring forced by his employer has something to do with obamacare !!!! Wow has he ever read what obamacare is ? It has nothing to do with faciltys forcing employee s to get flu shots. Its about employee standing together and  getting unionized !!!

Roxana, Nursing - Rn November 9, 2012 8:13 AM
Los angeles CA

I feel like I just stepped into Nazi country!! this is so upsetting to those of us who live our WHOLE life with NO drugs- I am an herbal consultant and use NO drugs of any kind on me or my family. I feel so frustrated that I will have to wear a mask- I teach painting and it is hard enough for the elderly to hear my directions with out having to put on a mask!!!! some one out there must know how to organize this thing!! If they can lead revolutions with text messages and twitter why can't we get this off the ground??? its all about the stupid drug companies want ing more $$$

Elaine Griffith, healthcare - Activity worker, nursing home November 6, 2012 7:05 PM
Oakham MA

Wow I thought I was the only one out here. I have been emailing writing everyone I can. I have been trying to get help. IU hospital policy flu vaccine by Dec 15th or NO job. The thought of being thrown out into the streets after all these years is just more then I can take. I have contacted lawyers from Indiana to New York! They say its against the constitution but then they say they don't think they could make mondy! This is about having our rights taking away from us! I though this was settle with the Nuremberg Code! article 1. Someone needs to stand up for us. I am sure there is plenty who will stand up.

Robert, LAB - Tech, IU November 6, 2012 1:04 AM
Indy IN

My employer does require it, ever since 2010, and I am wondering if this has anything to do with obamacare? I feel violated being forced to take something I would not choose to take. I am immune to the flu. Both of my children have had the flu, and I still didn't get sick from them. So, I choose not to take the vaccine because I don't need it. As far as spreading it to my patients, I do not go to work when I am sick. And, whenever I have a sick pt, I always wear a mask. Ever since the mandate came out, I have worn a mask instead of getting the vaccine. I do not like doing this because it carries a negative message to my patients. They always think I'm wearing it because I am sick. They also cannot hear what I am saying to them most of the time. I even had a patient ask me if I could take it off just so they could see me smile. Wearing a mask greatly hampers communication and impedes excellent care. If I needed to wear  a mask I would, without any problem. However when I am not sick and my patient doesn't have an illness that I can catch, the mask is just a slap on the hand for refusing to get a shot. I wish I could do something to get my right of choice back, but it looks like that will not happen any time soon. As a professional, I like to comply with safety standards and take the best care of my patients, but I feel that mandatory flu vaccines is stepping over the line in the rights of healthcare workers. In the mean time, I will keep wearing my mask and keep telling my patients that I have to wear it because I chose not to get a flu shot. I recommend it for others, but not for those who wish to refuse it.

Anonymous November 4, 2012 8:04 PM

Sorry to be so circumspect with the demographics, but I'm already in trouble.  I have had serious vaccine reactions but Texas does not allow for outs.  It's one of the worst state mandates, in my opinion.

I see people from all over the country here.  Even if we all band together, it won't have any effect.  There needs to be a nationwide movement.  The longer we wait, the more used to it those who once refused will become.  

We have no idea of the long-term consequences of mixing three viruses together then over-exciting the immune system with substances which would be banned from any other ingested substance.  Then doing it again and again with different viral components.  The nasal spray vaccine variant has live, attenuated viruses.  So we have three live viruses there to share some genetic material and create a new virus.  From what I have read, the only risk of infection in contacts is for people with severely compromised immune systems.  We'll never encounter those folks in a healthcare setting!

I don't really know how to start such a group effort.  If anyone is good at online organizing, now might be the time to put your skills to good use.  

Lastly, if we do find a way to organize, this affects all healthcare workers.  It is not just a nurse's issue.  There are volunteers and aids, cooks and secretaries, technicians, nurses, pharmacists, doctors, and administrators to bring together.  That could be a powerful coalition if we could form it.  

We have the right to informed consent too, don't we?  I guess that's gone unless we find a way to reclaim it.  

Meg in Texas

Meg October 31, 2012 8:52 PM
TX

Iif JACHO can mandate you take a flu shot, and go unchallenged, then what else can they mandate?

The only answer is to go to court, and make this a class action suit, and fight tooth and nail, all the way to the Supreme court if necessary.

Bill October 26, 2012 6:25 PM

I work at a hospital that mandates the flu vaccine.  This year I did not get my vaccine when they told us to.  I don't agree with the mandate and before this I did not get one until it was mandated.  Since a lot of us did not get our vaccine they are now charging us $22.00 for the shot and if we don't do it by Nov. 1 we are taken off the schedule.  Mandating the shot is bad enough and now because we don't agree with it we are having to pay for something we don't want unless we want to lose our job.  Something needs to be done about this becasuse this is getting way out of hand.  Since when can your employer make you take a drug without your consent with the threat you will lose your job if you don't go along with it?  Then if you don't do it when they want they charge us for it!  I don't know if what they are doing is even legal.  Seems to me if it is mandated they can't make you pay for it.  I am trying to find out if they are out of line on this but don't really know what path to take to find out.  Any ideas anyone?  I do hope that by 2013 they are told they cannot mandate this.  I know Osha had come out against it and I think the CDC also said they should not be mandated.  

Sherry, Pharmacy - Pharmacy Tech, St. Mary's Hospital October 25, 2012 11:08 PM

How can we band together?  We are just a small voice in the wind, but if there were some way to join us together we could more effectively fight this violation of our rights!  I predict we will see in our lifetimes one of those ads on TV asking if we were flu vaccine injured....just like we do for other drugs today.   We are mandated this year in CO to get a flu shot or we lose our jobs.  I'm crossing my fingers and probably getting the flu vaccine, I've never had one yet.  But after 26 years as a nurse, I will not ever take the flu shot again and I am actively looking for work in an area that will allow me my rights.  I am very healthy and I'll put my diet, exercise and hand washing against the flu shot any day of the week!  

Barb, skilled nursing facility - RN October 19, 2012 1:49 PM
Colorado Springs CO

I have always been a rule follower, but this time I must be a rebel and look out for what's best for my body.  I know a man who, after receiving a flu shot, was diagnosed with GB Syndrome.  The frightening changes he had to live day to day really gave me cause for concern.  Seems most deny this could be the cause of his illness but I am not convinced.  I was told that all Texas hospitals were to enforce mandatory flu vaccine injections for all staff and volunteers this year.  Although I have taken the shot in past years, the day I had planned to take it, my phone had GB Syndrome listed on Google when I opened my phone to look at my messages.  Wow.....I was stunned.  I have no clue how it came to me as I hadn't even thought about GBS in a long time.  After reading the previous comments, I am convinced that I will not take the vaccine this year.  However, I have been told that I will not be allowed to volunteer any longer.  Well, then it must be as I am not going to be forced to take a flu shot when I am very much against it.  We must stop our government from taking over our lives.  As someone previously said, it starts with something obscure and then the next thing they are on to something else and it snowballs from there.  This is the US of A and as an American we do have rights to make decisions for ourselves!  It is a crime that paid staff have do take such drastic measures as quitting.  It is totally unfair.

Cheryl , Gift Shop - Volunteer, Hospital October 18, 2012 1:07 AM
Beeville TX

Our hospital is trying to do the same thing and make it mandatory to get the flu shot or we will be terminated!  I normally get the flu shot because my husband has RA and is on immune suppressants but the problem I have is that I shouldn't be forced to take it to keep my job!  This infurates me as well but I don't know what I can do about it.  Arkansas is a right to work state but we all know that doesn't always mean anything.  I guess I will be contacting a lawyer to see just what rights I do have.  I hate that it would come to something like this but I have a feeling we have only seen the beginning of this subject!

Donna, Surgery - RN, Mercy October 17, 2012 8:47 PM
Ft. Smith AR

It isn't mandatory yet, but we had to sign a form giving our reason for not taking it. We know of many people who have had serious reactions to the vaccine, including one of pregnant patients. When she delivered she was still recovering from Guille-barre. I wish we nurses would finally ban together and fight for our rights. We just lined up and stored our pretty uniforms to buy these navy unifoms without so much as a squeak. We didn't give up our rights just because we work for a hospital. This so reminds me of nursing school.

Annette , RN October 16, 2012 10:10 AM
AL

I can't even believe that it has come down to the point of the matter that I even have to write this because I was mandated to get this stupid shot of poison or lose my job.  I AM BEYOND FURIOUS!!!  I don't understand where they draw the line.  If I went to my PCP and she suggested the flu shot, I have the right to refuse.  Just because you work in healthcare (which we are the most educated in controlling infection - hence the reason most health care workers dont get the flu!!) you have to get some shot that is filled with cancer causing agents while the rest of the public can live their life without being mandated to inject cancer causing agents into their body.  I went to school to become a nurse to help people feel get better......who would have known that becoming a nurse would force me to strip my medical rights away while every patient I treat gets to keep their rights!!!!  I really wish, that for one day out of the year, all healthcare workers could strike off their job and prove a point that, just because we chose to be in health care does not mean we gave up our medical rights!!!!!  DISGUSTING!!  What is next?  I am sure the government will create another vaccine for some other stupid virus that we will be mandated to get....just to keep the pharaceutical companies making millions and the government making millions from hospitals because the cancer rate will go up from mandating vaccines that have not been tested for long term results!!!.....not to mention its the governments way to control the population to they do not have to pay for an aging society.  SICK!!  

shannon , RN, BSN October 10, 2012 5:09 PM
NH

I believe in natural immunity.  Where are the studies on the long term effects that the preservatives in vaccines have on individuals? Oh, ya that would not benefit the drug companies to find that there is an associated increase in alzheimers disease linked to vaccines that use aluminum alloys in their preservatives.  What are the cumulative effects of thimerisol used as a preservative in the influenza vaccine? The only time that I have contracted the flu was after receiving the vaccine.  

Jennifer, RN September 30, 2012 10:47 PM
IN

I agree with you Emily. As an Rn I take responsibility as the guardian of my health and live to protect my immune system naturally. I don't assault it by the method of immunizations that bypass the natural method of immunity.

I oppose forced vaccines for all the reasons listed. The option of having titers done to determine immunity does not satisfy them because their only objective is giving the vaccine (profit motive) not if you are protected.

patricia, RN September 25, 2012 7:10 PM
PA

I am absolutely AGAINST the mandatory flu vaccine.  Nursing always claims that their actions are guided by evidence-based practice.  So where is the data and evidence to support the claim that patients are getting the flu from healthcare workers?  I certainly have never seen it.  This is about money.  Plain and simple.  Just think of the boatload of money that the vaccine manufacturer is going to get from this.  And  I can only imagine the kickbacks that JCAHO will receive for mandating it.  Good for you, Sue, for saying that you will not be employed.  I am still struggling with my decision.

Ruth, RN September 17, 2012 2:00 PM

I am really enjoying the camaraderie of the sharing of like views on this topic.  I too am faced with mandatory flu vaccine this year or not be employed.  I will not be employed!  I will not be bullied!  I agree with Dianne in Lubbock, this article appears to be saying we are the carriers of the flu. How absurd!  We are exposed to so many things everywhere we go, should we wear masks everywhere.  Maybe a bubble!  This is just idiotic and wrong to mandate when we have choices and rights, or at least used to.  Thanks to all of you who are commenting.  I don't feel alone.  

I encourage all to stand by your convictions.  I am committed to great patient care, accurate and detailed documentation and my faith in God. I will not waiver on any of those things either.    

Sue, Hospice - RN, IU Health, Goshen September 7, 2012 10:03 PM
Goshen IN

Welcome to Healthcare Reform for you bone heads that are for it.  Pretty soon you will be told what you can/cannot eat.

John, RN September 6, 2012 2:16 PM
Indianapolis IN

This is a subject that I say, "don't get me started."  There are so many things about the flu vaccine that sounds like it is the best think since vanilla ice cream.  First, the vaccine is made up of three flu viruses that the all knowing selected ones determine will be the viruses to cause the flu, therefore you can still get the flu and still go to work and be contagious. Which brings up the next peeve, and article after article sounds as if the health care community, (which nurses make up a large portion) created the flu and now it is our responsibility to stop it.  The sale of the flu vaccine would be more sensible if the approach from the editors of these articles would be that the nurse should get the vaccine to protect THEMSELVES rather then not to spread the flu.  I think patients are coming to us in most instances, not us to them.  Next, why is it okay to inject our bodies year after year after year, etc. with dead viruses.  I don't understand why this is okay even if the immunity is short lived it is still a dead virus.  Really? I have been a nurse for 30 years and have worked full time in different areas, mostly in hospitals and I have NEVER had the flu, nor my husband or my children.  I think my immunity is pretty good.  The last thing is of course making this mandatory.  Wow, so it is okay to make the flu shot mandatory to patients as well in the flu months.  They do not get a say either, so don't even ask them about the vaccine, just do it.  My health care is my business and since I have never had the flu I don't think I have caused any one to be ill.  Still the way you take away people's rights is one right at a time.  There is suppose to be a freedom of choice and if the choice is not to received the vaccine then you have to wear a mask as to label you.  So now that we have been humiliated and shamed into receiving this vaccine, who will pay the folks who have adverse reactions?  The hospital who mandated this (policy writen that states if you don't receive the vaccine you will be suspended and eventually terminated for noncompliance) or the joint commission?  I will not hold my breath. Oh, if I am afflicted with GB I guess I will not hold my breath.  Now I guess we can add something else to the things we have to do- die, pay taxes and get the flu vaccine.

Dianne, SICU - RN, UMC August 29, 2012 10:32 AM
Lubbock TX

I oppose making the vaccine mandatory.  I have a true allergy to egg yolk, and have a prescription for an epi-pen.  I would have to wear a mask while at work which could label me as non compliant.  This is unfair to me.  There should be exceptions to the rule if it were mandatory, especially if an allergy is medically documented and a true allergy versus food intolerance.

Judy, rehab - RN, Healthsouth August 29, 2012 5:51 AM
Mechanicsburg PA

My husband received the influenza immunization at work last September in his department, as per the TJC recommendation to increase compliance amoungst hospital employees.  He developed Guillain Barre Syndrome and has been off work since.  We saw more cases of GB diagnosed this year than actual flu cases.  Workmans compensation does not always get approved in these cases and the employee is faced with life changing financial burdens.  If there is going to be a mandate, then employees need to be protected and should not have to have the additional stress of possibly losing their job and 50% of their salary while dealing with Gullain Barre because they were mandated to get the flu shot.

Barb, PI - RN, Jefferson Hospital August 22, 2012 2:46 PM
Pittsburgh PA

WE ARE GIVEN THE WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO WEAR A MASK FOR THE ENTIRE FLU SEASON . EVALUATION FOR REMOVAL IS BASED ON THE NUMBER OF INCIDENTS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTIES.  i APPLAUDE THIS FOR WHEN I AM WEARING MY MASK I AM PROTECTING MY PATIENTS 100%.  I WONDER IF THOSE WHO GET THE VACCINATION (NOT 100% EFFECTIVE) CAN DO MORE.  IT'S ALL IN THWE BEST INTWEREST OF THE PATIENTS ....RIGHT?

MICKEY CRANDALL, ICU - RN August 15, 2012 4:16 AM
NY

I am opposed to mandating nurses to get the vaccination, it should be offered at no cost but voluntary.  You can't force a medication on a patient unless they are mentally unable to make sound decisions and done via the legal system then you certainly can't force a medication on a nurse.  A flu vaccine is a medication isn't it?

I determine what goes into my body, not an employer.  

Brian, Psych - RN, VA hospital August 13, 2012 7:26 PM
N. Little Rock AR

I am (most likely permanent) disability due to a severe auto-immune response to a flu shot, which was given to me as directed by my health care employer.  This mandate is due to the greed of the pharmaceutical companies, not a desire to keep anyone healthy.  I am AGAINST it!  The more people that follow this, the more people will be like me - if they are lucky.

Pat, Telemetry - RN August 9, 2012 3:09 PM

I fully support encouragement of workers in healthcare and healthcare facilities to be immunized, but I do NOT support mandating it.  We live in a world of rules made by people who have good intentions, but do not always consider all of the effects the rules and mandates have.  Education and full disclosure of the pros and cons is essential, but mandates that will push people to take vaccines that they are against having is NOT necessary.  I believe in some cases that workers may even choose to terminate employment at facilities requiring vaccines that they oppose being given.  This can cause serious issues in itself in a time when valuable experienced healthcare workers are difficult to find and replace.

Carol, Clinical Informatics - RN August 6, 2012 8:54 AM
Newport VT

Having served in the Military, I know all about mandated vaccines.  I do not support this.  It is nice that employers offer it, but for those of us who work Per Diem, if we get sick, we can't work.  No work, no pay.  The ONLY times I have ever gotten the flu are the few years I received the vaccine.  They tell me that is not possible.  When you bypass the body's natural defense system and inject them with a watered down version of the disease--um, infection control 101!  I refuse the flu vaccine.  I have no reason to get it.  I work with children.  I do encourage the children to consider it, but not mandate.

Deborah Ransom, Home Care - RN August 5, 2012 12:33 PM
Warren NJ

I grew up in a county where education - through school, public service announcements on TV, advertising campaigns - was the means used to educate the populous. We now live in a country where it is becoming second nature to mandate behavioral changes, whether something trivial like soft drink sizes or something extremely significant like vaccine usage.

I do not belittle the importance of public health initiatives for society and I am not a vaccine opponent. However, I am a proponent of liberty which this nation was founded on. We are approaching a point where government will be able to mandate almost anything and the citizen will be powerless to object.

We must look beyond our individual issues where we are "certain" this time a mandate is the best thing for society. People must understand that we cannot and must not cede this type of power to government. Eventually a mandate will be instituted that you object to but it will be too late to change.

We also must remember that much of the advice given by the "experts" of the day, later turns out to be overturned by the next "expert" that comes along.

Let's educate the public the best we can and stop trying to manage peoples' lives through mandates.

Stuart, Hospice - RN, MSN August 5, 2012 9:37 AM

Overall, we need to consider and embrace multiple modalities of immune support over and above the influenza vaccine for the longer term.  To rely on a single method is shortsighted and deprives us of additional, evolving tools and knowledge.  We have over-relied upon antibiotics, and now reap the harvest of the resulting resistance as one example.  There is always a need for more study and evaluation of methods. One shining example is: The WHO  targets vitamin D deficiency as a worldwide "epidemic".  Research articles  consistently provide data indicating the rates of influenza infection ( and many other health issues)  are higher in northern climates (north=north of Georgia!). This population is co-incident and highly correlated with the geographic regions known to be at risk for vitamin D deficiency.  Sufficient levels of circulating vitamin D correlate with higher rates of immunity, per the research.

The UK has recently committed enormous resources to testing for vitamin D deficiency with the goal of reducing chronic diseases and increasing the immunity of their population through provision of sufficient vitamin D.  The Endocrine Society guidelines on Vitamin D are easily available online and provide a 2 page summary on pages 3-4. Recommendations of some other highly respected organizations have fallen short of the widely accepted data in the research, hence I refer the reader to the Endocrine Society guideline.  Vitamin D is inexpensive, rarely toxic and easily taken - so why is there so much contradictory publicity about it? Those discussions have been published in nutritional journals. Concern has been expressed that vitamin D is being developed into a patentable Rx - why, when it is already available and such an inexpensive and effective boost to health?

Another significant, effective and inexpensive method of improving one's immunity in addition to cleanliness, exercise and avoidance of refined foods and sugars, is homeopathic care, provided by a trained HCP.  The homeopathic medicine indicated for improving immunity to flu is a minimal amount of medication given prophylactically either once seasonally or some schools of homeopathic thought would indicate a single lifetime dose for immunity.  I have received the single dose about 12 years ago and have not missed a single day of work for illness, nor have I experienced flu symptoms in the intervening years. And I exercise and avoid deleterious foods.

For those who possess scientific skepticism about homeopathic medicine, I refer you to the available RCT's and other studies to evaluate this for yourselves.  There are few corporate interests to support homeopathic studies, however, the studies have been conducted.  

The message sent by mandatory vaccination is that the individual is to believe the vaccine is more powerful than their own immunity,  which needs to include daily food/exercise/health choices.  The message is disempowering for the individual, introducing fear and dependency. We do know that an individual who participates in his/her own healthcare, has a better outcome.  The vaccine is useful for those who are immunocompromised or may not know how to support their own immunity and health. I respectfully submit that there are multiple methods which effectively sustain immunity for those who choose them.  Influenza vaccines, like anything in life are not 100% and may provide adjunct support for those who choose it or are health-compromised.  However, as a healthcare community, we need to remain open to additional methods, new approaches and new evidence. There was a time when x-rays were considered quackery - we need to respectfully grow and evolve our thinking based upon unbiased evidence that is not paid for by external commercial interests.  When we achieve that, we will improve the health of the population and reduce health care costs. I will continue to seek ways to make my own choices for health - including choosing an employer who will honor those choices.  We must remain open to new ideas, allow the status quo to be questioned and be respectful of each other in our pursuit of improved healthcare at lower cost - if indeed we all share this goal.  Immunity is the cornerstone of healing and health.

Emily , B.S.N., R.N. July 28, 2012 1:21 PM

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