Vaccines mandatory for Employees or be fired

As I posted previously, this is becoming a widespread policy, especially in the health care sector.

It’s now here where I live as well. This affects my family.

What follows is the information released in the Sep. 18, 2009 SE Hospital Employee Newsletter called Informed.

Employees, Contract Staff Now Required to Have Flu Shots

To prevent the spread of influenza between personnel and patients and to protect you from illness, Southeast Missouri Hospital is requiring that all employees and contract staff shall be immunized against seasonal influenza.

This vaccination is not to protect against the H1N1 flu strain that has been in the news for a number of months. Should that vaccine become available, the Hospital will follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations concerning who should receive the vaccine.

This immunization will provided free of charge to all employees. You will be notified when the vaccine is available.

If you are vaccinated by another healthcare provider (physician, walk-in flu clinic), you must provide proof of immunization to the Employee Health Office. Proof may be a physicians note, a receipt or a copy of consent indicating the employee has received the immunization and the date of administration.

Preservative-free vaccine will be available in limited quantities.

Exemptions

Exemptions to the immunization may be granted for medical contraindications (person has severe allergy to chicken eggs, has had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination, or has developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within six weeks of receiving an immunization) or religious beliefs. A form for medical exemption is available through Employee Health. The standard criteria for medical exemptions will follow recommendations from the CDC.

If you request an exemption based on religious beliefs, a written request must be submitted to Employee Health. Administration will review the request, determine its validity, and either grant the exemption or issue a denial.

Each exemption request will be sent to Employee Health and medically reviewed by the Medical Director of Employee Health. The decision to accept or decline will be given to you in writing.

Employee Health/Infection Control Procedures

Employees who have been granted an exemption will be required to wear a surgical or isolation mask while at work during the influenza season, which typically runs from October 1 through March 31. This is because you could have the transmittable flu virus but not display obvious symptoms. The season will be based on recommendations from the CDC.

All employees and contracted staff must be vaccinated or granted an exemption by December 31, 2009. In the event of a vaccination shortage, the Hospital will follow CDC recommendations about who should receive this vaccine.

Failure to Comply

If you fail to comply with this requirement and cannot produce evidence of an exemption for medical or religious reasons by December 31, 2009, you will be suspended without pay until you can produce evidence that you have been vaccinated or obtained an exemptions.

Failure to comply at that point will result in termination of employment. (emphasis mine)

Your cooperation with this new policy is appreciated. You will be notified when vaccination clinics are scheduled. Your health, and the health of all who enter our doors, is of the utmost importance to us.

Informal ‘water cooler polls’ show overwhelming opposition of this policy. Not much will be raised though because of the hospital’s earlier rounds of firing when they transition to a smoke free campus and fired people for breaking those rules as well. Mind you, that was employees on public streets, but they still did it. The Hospital actually tried to get the city to give them ownership of a public street that runs in front of it just so they could enforce that rule on that road. Only after protests from handful of citizens did that plan die. From what I understand, it was a done deal until the stink was raised.

So get your shots or get fired. Its coming people, its all coming for you!

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