Quad City Hospitals Make Flu Shots Mandatory

Updated: Sep 22, 2009 03:26 PM CDT

In year’s past, Quad City hospitals highly recommended the flu shot to employees. This year, they’re a requirement. If you work for Genesis or Trinity, whether you’re a doctor in the back or a greeter up front, you must get a seasonal flu shot. Adminstators say it’s all about protecting their patients.

“If you have staff that perhaps have influenza, have influenza-like symptoms or they haven’t manifested yet and they’re caring for patients, we’re putting our patients at risk,” Erin Lounsberry with Trinity Regional Health System said.

With H1N1 in our midst and hospitals planning for a major seasonal flu outbreak, local hospitals aren’t taking any chances. A letter to employees at Trinity says the only exceptions will be for medical reasons. In that case, the employee has to have a doctor’s note.

Ken Croken with Genesis Health System says it’s the same at their hospitals. “The most common medical exemption for a flu vaccine is an allergy to egg or egg product because generally the flu vaccine is made of eggs,” he explained.

If an employee does not have a medical reason and refuses to get the flu shot there will be consequences. In the most extreme case it will be termination.

“This is not if you refuse to get a flu shot then you’re fired. If somebody has a clean record and they don’t have any corrective action on their employee record then it will be noted in their file,” Lounsberry said.

So far Trinity says any concern over the flu shot requirement has been minimal. Genesis notes none. They’re also encouraged because last year, when the flu shot was not a requirement, at least 90 percent of employees got one anyway.

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