The Flu Vaccine: Should It Be Mandatory?

I had read an article back in January, regarding nurses who were fired due to refusing the flu shot:

Refuse a shot? You get let go.

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Mom Of Many (Susanna): One Mom’s perspective on life, raising kids, knitting and other unrelated topics.

I felt this would be an interesting topic to blog about today, considering how much of an epidemic the flu virus has become. It seems each fall and winter (especially out here in Nebraska) the news portrays a very scary and at times a deadly view of what is occurring for those who choose not to receive the vaccine. Each year, I hear about either very young children or older adults who pass away, and I have heard stories from friends regarding their own bouts with the flu, and how horrible it was.

I’ve never had the flu, not that I can recall; my memory is a little fuzzy before the age of 3. I remember plenty of times where I’ve been sick, fighting off some nasty virus, but never the flu. I will be 35 years old come July, and I’ve never even received the flu vaccine, not willingly, anyway. I may have when I was a child and just don’t know it. Even though I don’t get vaccinated, I do choose to have my children vaccinated. I even blogged about the experience: I’m a bigger wuss than my 6 year old

I don’t have personal reasons for not vaccinating. I’m not freaked out about what’s in the liquid they put inside my body. If that were the case, I’d never take my sons in to receive the flu mist each year. It’s not for religious reasons, either. I do have a huge fear of needles, and that weighs in for me, but if I truly felt I needed it, or if I’d ever had the flu, I would probably get that vaccine every year, just like millions of other people.

The nurse in this article (Ms. Hoover) has never received the flu vaccine in over 21 years of service. There is no mention as to whether she’s ever had the flu, though. She did say that she’s only missed roughly 5 days of work in the entire time of her career, which leads me to believe that she has never had the flu. From what I’ve heard, it knocks you on your ass for days. Is she choosing to refrain from the vaccine based on religious reasons? No real mention of that, either. Only that she chooses not to, and she was fired because of it.

So, should the nurses be fired for refusing the flu vaccine? 

As much as I hate to say this, YES. I think they should. I am a firm believer in having full control of what goes into your body. No one else should ever have jurisdiction over that, but when it comes to your job and what’s required, it’s a game changer. The nurses knew full well that it’s a requirement now to be fully vaccinated, not only to protect themselves but to also protect the public. Not everyone is like Ms. Hoover, or myself for that matter. Maybe she and I have just gotten lucky on the flu lottery, but that’s no reassurance. If your job description requires you to be vaccinated (and I’m assuming it’s not just for the flu, but other diseases as well) then that’s the way it is, clear across the board. If you are dealing with the public- the SICK public- it just makes sense to me. From everything I’ve ever heard or read, you can be contagious BEFORE symptoms occur. If one of these nurses picks up the flu, and is dealing with patients with compromised immune systems, it could be deadly. I also understand that the flu vaccine isn’t a 100% guarantee. People get the shot or mist, and may still get sick. However, those individuals report milder symptoms. It lessens the severity, and this means a faster recovery time, meaning those nurses wouldn’t have to stay home for days on end, battling the flu.

I am saddened for Ms. Hoover, and her fellow employees. I understand her need and her right to have control over what goes into her body, yet her choices could cause ill effects on the patients she works with, and that’s why I feel the outcome was justified.

As for me? I’m sure karma will give me a swift kick in the butt soon enough, and I’ll join the ranks of countless others who get in the flu vaccine line every year.

Here’s waiting.



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