• Mon, Jan 14 2013

Hospital Workers Fired For Refusing Flu Shots: Agree Or Disagree?

shutterstock_44980972You and I may be able to opt out of flu shots, but should doctors and nurses have the same right? No, according to some hospitals who insist that all employees get vaccinated. And for those for those who refuse? Well, some of them are actually getting fired.

With the worst flu season we’ve seen in decades, including the deaths of at least 20 children, it makes sense that the very people who are supposed to protect and help heal those who get infected–nurses and doctors–also protect themselves. After all, hospitals are notorious for spreading germs and infections. And while most hospital employees comply, some believe they have the right to refuse a flu shot–and not be reprimanded or fired for their choice.

According to Today.com, in the past two months at least 15 nurses and other hospital staffers in four states have been fired for refusing a flu shot. In addition, some employees have resigned over this. Others, like 1,000 workers in Rhode Island, have signed a petition against the mandate to get flu shot, and their labor union has filed a lawsuit opposing this regulation. To them, it’s their right to refuse.

From allergies, to religious reasons to skepticism over the effectiveness of a flu shot, some hospital workers are claiming that they shouldn’t be forced to get one. After all, the CDC says the flu shot is only likely to reduce your chances of getting sick by 62%. That’s a lot of people who will get vaccinated and still be at risk. In addition, the flu shot doesn’t protect against all strains of the illness, and it can lead to fever, aches and pains in those who get it.

“Where does it say that I am no longer a patient if I’m a nurse,” explained Carrie Calhoun to Today.com. Calhoun is a longtime critical care nurse in Chicago who was actually fired last month for refusing to get a flu shot.

Others disagree. According to some studies, patients in nursing homes have a lower death rate from the flu if employees are vaccinated.

Tell us what you think. Should hospital staff be required to get the flu shot?

Photo: shutterstock.com

 

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  • NilesAkbar

    Yes!

  • Bea Shepard

    Not only should they not be forced to take flu shot, but the medicos need to unscrew their heads and advise people to cut back on the sugars that destroy the immune system. The real culprit is the American diet of sugary trash.

  • Flatulant

    They only fired like 8 people not the entire at one hospital. They fire them all or nobody.

  • pete

    Absolutely! They are not only refusing the shot but also the nasal application. They are exposed to flu infected patients and none infected alike. It’s not rational for them to be able to have a choice in the matter. As healthcare providers it’s their duty.

    • Jennifer C.

      I don’t think it is the TYPE of application that is the issue. It is the CHOICE to RECEIVE flu shots. Also, refer to my post above.

  • PB

    No, not necessary. Some people get more sick if you get flu shots. This years flu shot was the worst, did not work for anyone. If a person is healthy and don’t have history of sickness, he should not need a flu shot.

    • cupcakemuffin

      The point is not whether the WORKER would get ill, but whether they might pass it along to a vulnerable patient who in fact is at a very high risk of catching the flu, possibly with fatal results for at-risk patients.

  • James

    When flue shot’s contain poisonous heavy metals like Mercury, yes the same substance you were suited up for with a face mask and visor in high school during chemistry class? Remember? The same Mercury which they say is safe and your dear dentist fills your teeth with? Yes that deadly toxic metal which has been clinically proven to cause autism in children? Everyone should have the right to refuse those.

    This is along with other reasons, are why the hospital workers won’t take them.

    Do your research…

    • http://profiles.google.com/terrell.gibbs Terrell Gibbs

      It is possible to get flu vaccinations without mercury, if you are that paranoid about it. By the way, it is completely false that mercury has been clinically proven to cause autism. The symptoms of mercury poisoning are well known from environmental mercury contamination incidents, and do not include autism. And a great decrease in mercury exposure due to elimination of mercury-based preservative from childhood vaccines a decade ago has not led to any fall in incidence of autism. It is also now established that the particular form of mercury used in vaccines (ethyl mercury) is quite rapidly eliminated from the body, and is much less toxic than the form of mercury (methyl mercury) for which environmental mercury standards were originally developed.

      Working at a hospital entails some risk, because you are working around sick people who may carry contagious diseases. Anybody so frightened of the negligible risk associated with vaccines that they are willing to risk passing influenza on to vulnerable patients (some of whom will be have impaired immune systems), should find another line of work.

    • James

      Terrell Gibbs,

      The short, eye-opening eBook linked below is titled Aluminum in Vaccines — a Neurological Gamble, by Neil Miller, director of the Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute. It documents the hazards associated with aluminum-laden vaccines. Children are receiving high concentrations of aluminum in their shots. This well-documented neurotoxin may be more dangerous than mercury.

      Vaccines containing high concentrations of neurotoxic aluminum were added to the child immunization schedule when several vaccines containing mercury were removed. Two-month old babies now receive 1,225 mcg of aluminum from their vaccines — 50 times higher than safety levels! Although the FDA, CDC and World Health Organization are aware of the dangers, they expect parents to play Russian roulette with their children.

      When mercury was removed from many vaccines (except the flu vaccine) years ago, it was under the false guise that finally vaccines were now safe. What health agencies did not want you to know is that there are many other toxic additives still in vaccines, and one of them is aluminum.

      Aluminum has not received the widespread media attention that mercury has, therefore many people don’t realize it’s a health risk.

      “Aluminum is not perceived, I believe, by the public as a dangerous metal. Therefore, we are in a much more comfortable wicket in terms of defending its presence in vaccines,” said Dr. John Clements, WHO vaccine advisor.

      Notice he said that aluminum is “not perceived” by the public as a dangerous metal … he couldn’t say simply that aluminum is safe, because this would be a lie.

      Why is Aluminum Added to Vaccines?

      Most vaccines have at least two components, the agent that you’re seeking to elicit an immune response to, such as a measles virus, and an immune adjuvant, which enhances the immune response and is typically made from a variety of highly toxic compounds including aluminum compounds, MSG, and mercury. The purpose of immune adjuvants is to boost your immune system, or to make it react as intensely as possible for as long as possible.

      Unlike a natural immune boost that would come from, say, eating healthy and exercising, artificial immune adjuvants can be dangerous in and of themselves. Says Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon and author:

      “Studies have shown that these adjuvants, from a single vaccine, can cause immune overactivation for as long as two years. This means that the brain microglia remain active as well, continuously pouring out destructive chemicals.

      In fact, one study found that a single injection of an immune activating substance could cause brain immune overactivation for over a year. This is very destructive.”

      How Aluminum Can Harm Your Brain

      When you or your child is injected with a vaccine, the aluminum compounds it contains accumulate not only at the site of injection but travel to your brain and accumulate there. In your brain, aluminum enters neurons and glial cells (astrocytes and microglia).

      Studies have shown that aluminum can activate microglia and do so for long periods, which means that the aluminum in your vaccination is priming your microglia to overreact.

      The next vaccine acts to trigger the enhanced inflammatory reaction and release of the excitotoxins, glutamate and quinolinic acid, Dr. Blaylock points out.

      Meanwhile, if you come down with an infection, are exposed to more toxins, or have a stroke or head injury of any kind, this will magnify the inflammatory reaction occurring in your brain due to the vaccines. Research has shown that the more your immune system remains activated, the more likely it is you’ll suffer from a neurodegenerative disease.

      The aluminum hydroxide used in many vaccines, including hepatitis A and B, and the Pentacel cocktail for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and meningitis, has been clearly linked to symptoms associated with Parkinson”s, ALS (Lou Gehrig”s disease), and Alzheimer”s.

      Scientists discovered the link after injecting mice with an anthrax vaccine developed for the first Gulf War. After 20 weeks, a fifth of the mice developed a skin allergy, and memory problems increased by 41 times compared to a placebo group. Also, inside the brains of mice, 35 percent of the cells that control movement were destroyed.

      There is overwhelming evidence that chronic immune activation in your brain, as discussed by Dr. Blaylock above, is a major cause of damage in numerous degenerative brain disorders, from multiple sclerosis Alzheimer”s disease, Parkinson”s and ALS, which may explain the link between aluminum-containing vaccines and these diseases.

      Late last year a team of scientists also found that vaccination involving aluminum-containing adjuvants could trigger the cascade of immunological events that are associated with autoimmune conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome and macrophagic myofasciitis, a condition that causes profound weakness and multiple neurological syndromes, one of which closely resembles multiple sclerosis.

      Even a study in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, admitted that:

      “Aluminum is now being implicated as interfering with a variety of cellular and metabolic processes in the nervous system and in other tissues.”

      This has led some experts to suggest that aluminum in vaccines may be linked to autism.

      Just How Much Aluminum Could Your Child be Exposed To?

      If you are a parent of a young child I highly recommend you read the entire eBook linked above, as it spells out very clearly just how much aluminum will be injected into your child if you follow the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) vaccine schedule.

      In short, babies who follow the recommended vaccination schedule are injected with nearly 5,000 mcg (5 mg) of aluminum by the time they are just 1.5 years old.

      The FDA considers levels of aluminum up to 0.85mg to be “safe,” so you do the math on the risk involved here.

      For parents, the issue of what to do about these risks can be very confusing. So please do take your time to thoroughly research the risks of vaccinations before making up your mind. Dr. Blaylock’s article, The Danger of Excessive Vaccination During Brain Development: The Case for a Link to Autism Spectrum Disorders, is an excellent starting point that I highly recommend.

      If you’re looking for a more sensible, “user-friendly” vaccination schedule that may present fewer risks than the CDC’s “one-size-fits-all” schedule, Dr. Donald Miller advises the following:

      1. No vaccinations until your child is 2 years old.
      2. No vaccines that contain thimerosal (mercury).
      3. No live virus vaccines.
      4. The following vaccines should be given one at a time (not as a combination vaccine), every six months, beginning at age 2:

      a. Pertussis (acellular, not whole cell)
      b. Diphtheria
      c. Tetanus
      d. Polio (the Salk vaccine, cultured in human cells)

      If your pediatrician doesn’t agree, or isn’t open to discussing this issue with you, it’s high time to find a new one who will understand your concerns.

    • James
    • NilesAkbar

      Old wives’ tale.

    • James

      Niles Ackbar,

      I’m sorry but I can read just like you. There is still Mercury in many of our vaccines, only in smaller amounts. The smaller amounts per dose are off set by the fact children and adults are being encouraged to vaccinate more often for more stuff. I.E. Cervical Cancer as an example.

      U.S.D.A. Headline Declares:

      Thimerosal in Vaccines

      See also “Mercury in Plasma-Derived Products”

      Thimerosal
      is a mercury containing organic compound (an organomercurial). Since
      the 1930s, it has been widely used as a preservative in a number of biological
      and drug products, including many vaccines, to help prevent potentially life
      threatening contamination with harmful microbes. Over the past several years,
      because of an increasing awareness of the theoretical potential for
      neurotoxicity of even low levels of organomercurials and because of the
      increased number of thimerosal containing vaccines that had been added to the
      infant immunization schedule, concerns about the use of thimerosal in vaccines
      and other products have been raised. Indeed, because of these concerns, the
      Food and Drug Administration has worked with, and continues to work with,
      vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal from vaccines.

      Thimerosal has been removed from or
      reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended
      for children 6 years of age and younger, with
      the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine (see Table 1). A
      preservative-free version of the inactivated influenza vaccine (contains trace amounts of thimerosal)
      is available in limited supply at this time for use in infants, children and
      pregnant women. Some vaccines such as Td, which is indicated for older children
      (≥ 7 years of age) and adults, are also now available in formulations that are
      free of thimerosal or contain only trace amounts. Vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal contain 1 microgram or
      less of mercury per dose.

      http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228

      The fact remains, there is still Mercury in vaccines. Less than yesteryear, of course! But now we use Aluminum instead. Which causes Alzheimer’s and other degenerative neurological disease.

      God Bless

      [Medicine is] a collection of uncertain prescriptions the results of which, taken collectively, are more fatal than useful to mankind.

      Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821)

  • Bruce Scheer

    In health care, informed consent means reading, evaluating, discussing the risks and benefits of accepting or choosing a procedure or treatment. If you do this regarding vaccinations, you will find out that this is controversial with risks and perhaps dubious benefits. Health care workers are people too. If they opt out of flu shots, they are making what they think is an intelligent decision. Perhaps one way more thought out, than the millions who roll up their sleeves and accept it as if to question it, was like questioning communion in the church. They do not put their patients at risks any more then anyone else going out in public. Fire a nurse or doctor who is a serial non-hand washer, not for choosing to make a decision about their health.

  • cupcakemuffin

    Yes, this should be required. Health care workers need to get all sorts of vaccines that are not required of the general public, not only the flu shots…not sure why only the flu shot has become so controversial! If you want a job that involves being in close contact to extremely vulnerable populations, then obviously you need to take steps to protect the patients…if you don’t want to, then clearly health care is not the job for you. Similarly, if I don’t want to get the TB test because I have some objection to it, I don’t get to work around kids.

  • kitkat

    Nurses and doctors should wear a mask regardless if they have had the shot during flu outbreaks and also gloves they are helping spread the virus and as far as getting the shot noone should be forced to do that even if the nurses got the shot they can still pass the virus from patient to patient

  • Fiona

    Yes, hospital workers should have to get flu shots (unless they have a documented allergy that medically prohibits them from doing so). Healthcare professionals see individuals with compromised immune systems due to age and disease and they need to protect against outbreaks in medical centers. A nurse or doctor who gets the flu may be sick for a week or two, but an elderly or immunocompromised patient will die. There’s no 100% prevention mechanism, but it’s the responsibility of medical providers to minimize harm. Other immunizations such as tetanus and hepatitis are job requirements; the flu shot falls into the same category. In fact, almost everyone should get a flu shot to protect themselves and the people around them.

  • Rns

    they get TB Tested etc. If you are in a treatment role- you need to make sure that you don’t become a carrier for others. Do no harm. They should get a flu shot or figure out a way to find a job that doesn’t involve patient contact.

  • James

    One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.Sir William Osler (1849 – 1919), Aphorisms from his Bedside Teachings (1961) p. 105
    Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (1973) “Science and Scientism”
    The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.Voltaire (1694 – 1778)
    Orthodox medicine has not found an answer to your complaint. However, luckily for you, I happen to be a quack.Richter cartoon caption

  • Jennifer C.

    I disagree! It is up to the individual as to whether or not they agree with shots. Also, not all healthcare workers work around patients (for example, in the lab or in offices). Also, due to the number of flu strains that are out there, you are NOT guaranteed protection with a shot.

  • Alexandra

    For hospital workers, they should be required! Nurses are already required to go through thousands of blood tests and mountains of vaccines (well, in Quebec they are), why shouldn’t they be required to get a flu vaccine as well?

  • Vikky

    Yes, they should be required!
    1) for the same reason contruction workers wear helmets: to protect themselves.
    2) for the same reason cafeteria workers wear hair nets: to protect the public from their germs. (they work with patients with comprimised immune systems–they need more than a hair net!)
    If they don’t want to follow the safety regs, they can get another job!

  • Ivy W.

    They most definitely should not be required to get the flu shot. It should be a matter of choice…whether u want to or not….whatever happened to living in a FREE country where we the citizens could make up our OWN minds rather than the government making it up for us??!! We are “INDIVIDUALS” in case people have forgotten! So if you want the flu shot, go get it, if you don’t…well then don’t!!! Pretty simple

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.davisshields Lisa Davis Shields
  • Cherie

    This is America for Gods sake. I don’t think you should be able to make anyone take medications or vacinations against their will. I did not have the flu shot this year. I have had it the past three years and so far I have not gotten the flu. In the past even though I got the shot I caught the flu , so what is the point really. My aunt who got the flu shot, died of complications of the flu on Jan 9th. It didn’t save her. The way the media was pushing the flu shots with all thier scare tactics makes one wonder if there is a conspiracy of sorts to get everyone the shot.