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Mandatory Flu Shots Mean You're Serious About Patient Safety

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, September 21, 2012

Yet still a large percentage of hospitals and health systems rely on voluntary vaccination programs for their employees. On average, 98.8% of people working at healthcare facilities that require vaccination are in fact vaccinated. But less than 70% are vaccinated at facilities that don't require it, even among those that offer free vaccinations and personal reminders to employees.

As someone in the latter stages of recovering from a flulike illness, and as a relatively healthy person, I'm shocked that any organization that purports to be in the business of helping patients would not mandate flu vaccines for their employees who come in contact with them.

It's becoming more common to do so, but it's far from universal.

Again, I can't think of a reason why it isn't mandatory, and for the record, neither can Marjorie Bessel, MD, who is chief medical officer at Banner Health's Arizona East region. Banner, as you might imagine, does have a policy on mandatory flu vaccination for employees who come in contact with patients at any time, and that policy says you will be vaccinated.

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5 comments on "Mandatory Flu Shots Mean You're Serious About Patient Safety"


pbrown6989 (10/19/2012 at 11:07 AM)
Grow up people. Why is there so much drama about a flu shot. The problem is spreading the flu to other people before you know you have it. If you have chosen healthcare as your career then you have an obligation to patients and other HCPs to get the flu shot. It is a killed virus...you can't get sick and if you insist you got the flu because of the shot, look elsewhere for the attention you obviously need.

Renee (9/27/2012 at 5:14 PM)
Just like you autonomy allows you to choose a flu shot mine allows me to choose not to! Why is it a one way street? I have been fatigued, nauseated, had a sore throat and swollen glands since I received the flu shot on Monday. But it's someone else's decision to infect me with a virus and make me ill!! Missing many hours of work and productivity due to it.

Kate (9/25/2012 at 6:26 PM)
Maybe your employer shouldn't make you wash your hands, either, since that interferes with your bodily autonomy. You might even have a bad dermatologic reaction to the alcohol-based rinse, or the unusual scent of the soap might trigger a killer migraine. Your autonomy over your body does not give you the right to infect mine.