Asheville Mission Hospital’s ultimatum to employees: Flu vaccine or your job

Mission Hospital started requiring flu shots for all employees, students, vendors, medical staff and volunteers this year. 06 Dec 2010 (NC) More than a dozen Mission Hospital employees will have to choose between a flu shot and their jobs. Out of 4,200 employees at the hospital, 14 did not get a mandatory flu vaccine by the Dec. 1 deadline. Two employees resigned because they did not want to get the vaccine. The 14 employees have been suspended without pay. They have two weeks to get the flu shot or they will have to find another job.

By Nanci Bompey
Citizen-Times

More than a dozen Mission Hospital employees will have to choose between a flu shot and their jobs.

Out of 4,200 employees at the hospital, 14 did not get a mandatory flu vaccine by the Dec. 1 deadline. Two employees resigned because they did not want to get the vaccine.

The 14 employees have been suspended without pay. They have two weeks to get the flu shot or they will have to find another job.

“When they get their vaccine they can come back to work but not until then,” said Janet Moore, a spokeswoman for Mission Hospital.

Mission Hospital started requiring flu shots for all employees, students, vendors, medical staff and volunteers this year.

Hospitals around the country and at least two hospitals in North Carolina have implemented similar measures, although Mission is the first in Western North Carolina to put the practice into place.

“When we announced it last year, it really was with the intention of doing the right thing for our patients,” Moore said. “We don’t want any patients to be exposed to influenza by one of our staff.”

Employees were told about the new policy in March and the hospital started vaccinating employees for free in the beginning of October. The hospital spent more than $100,000 on 8,300 shots that were given to employees, volunteers and other staff.

Employees could opt out of getting the shot for religious or medical reasons. Ninety employees were granted a religious exemption, 42 received a medical exemption and 30 employees were referred to an allergist to check for possible reaction to the vaccination.

Volunteers are not required to get the shot, but they are not allowed to volunteer at the hospital unless they are vaccinated.

Medical staff, even those not employed by the hospital, were also required to get the shot. Of 692 physicians on staff, all but 50 had given documentation showing their vaccination status to the hospital on Friday.

“This is a simple thing that frankly, everyone can do to keep themselves, their family members, and friends safe during the flu season,” Moore said.

Moses Cone Health System in Greensboro started requiring the seasonal and H1N1 flu shot last year. Less than a dozen employees ended up leaving the hospital because they didn’t want to get vaccinated, said spokesman Doug Allred. The hospital has about 7,500 employees.

“Last year, we as a community were hit very hard by H1N1,” Allred said. “It was the prudent thing to do.”

One response to “Asheville Mission Hospital’s ultimatum to employees: Flu vaccine or your job

  1. boomerangcomesback

    WOW! Since vaccinations are “controlled” by the government, and we see what kind of agenda and mess they are making on all fronts — it seems obvious that receiving a vaccination under duress and force (like a TSA pelvic exam) is a dangerous choice. I see the government and institutions like this hospital are holding up a hammer and saying “get this, or else”, placing working folks in untenable situations. Since, giving them a little rope, means soon they’ll take enough to hang you, a line is surely being drawn in the sand.

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