Healthcare workers to be fired if they refuse flu shots, medical group demands (opinion)

Friday, September 10, 2010 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: health care workers, flu shots, health news

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(NaturalNews) Forget the U.S. Constitution. Forget basic human rights. Forget the fact that research shows flu shots don't work most of the time ( A group of the nation's leading infectious disease experts are demanding forced vaccinations for all healthcare workers.

That's no exaggeration, either. A position paper just released by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) calls for mandatory flu vaccine for all healthcare personnel. And if you work in the healthcare field and refuse? SHEA, which is organization of epidemiologists and infectious disease physicians, says you should be fired from your job or, if you are applying for one, denied employment.

The paper, published in this month's Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology journal and endorsed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), specifically demands that influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel should be a condition of both initial and continued employment in healthcare facilities. In fact, according the SHEA paper, it doesn't matter whether a healthcare professional has direct patient contact -- or even whether he or she is directly employed by a healthcare facility -- they should be forced to have a flu shot to have a job.

Bottom line: even if you telecommute and do paperwork from afar, it appears SHEA wants you to be forced to have a flu shot if your work in anyway involves healthcare.

The SHEA policy also applies to students, volunteers, and contract workers. The only healthcare workers who would be let off the hook and allowed to escape having a forced flu vaccination, say the epidemiologists and infectious disease physicians, are those who can prove the shot is medically contraindicated.

"Mandatory vaccination is the cornerstone to a comprehensive program designed to prevent the spread of influenza," said Neil Fishman, MD, president of SHEA, in his statement to the media. "Healthcare providers are ethically obligated to take measures proven to keep patients from acquiring influenza in healthcare settings."

Of course, a lot of people would argue there's nothing ethical about forcing healthcare workers, even those not in contact with patients, to have flu shots in order to have a job.

SHEA's demands may be greeted with defiance from many healthcare workers. According to a RAND Corporation survey last year, 39 percent of healthcare professionals stated they had no intention of getting vaccinated despite the media hysteria and push for flu shots centered around H1N1 in 2009.

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