Mandatory Flu Shot


Union’s flu shot motion denied; Essentia Health mandate still set to take effect on Monday


That was the headline for an article in the Duluth News Tribune this morning.  A Judge denied the United Steelworkers Union’s request to block the firings.   It bothers me that in September a hospital can change a policy to require a flu shot and one can be fired in November if you cannot comply.  (I am in Nursing Administration and do not belong to a union so I have no one standing up for me.)


Why would a hospital have to fire someone for not getting a shot anyway?  If the risk to benefit ratio was good, people would be falling all over themselves to get the shot.  According to the CDC website the flu vaccine effectiveness has only been above 50% effective four times since 2004 and it was below 25% effective three times.


If a company believes that getting a flu shot reduces healthcare costs why don’t they reduce the insurance deductible as an incentive for people to get the shot instead of intimidation and termination?  One of the notes hanging up at work to remind people to get there flu shot read:


Also get your flu shots you degenerates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


When I asked the staff standing in the nurse’s station about that note they just laughed and said, “They just meant that as a joke.”   I didn’t think it was funny and so I took it down and kept it.


Essentia Health says you can get a medical exemption for one of three reasons:

  • Allergic reaction to previous flu vaccine with documented allergy testing results.
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome within six weeks of getting a previous flu shot.
  • Other.  (This will be looked at on a case by case basis.)


Your doctor must fill out your request and send supporting documentation.  I am afraid to ask a doctor to fill out an exception for me and put his job at risk.



According to the CDC website people can develop Guillain-Barre Syndrome after having the flu or other infections (such as cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr virus). On very rare occasions, they may develop GBS in the days or weeks after getting a vaccination.

The increased risk was approximately one additional case of Guillain-Barre Syndrome for every 100,000 people who got the swine flu vaccine. Scientists have several theories about the cause, but the exact reason for this link remains unknown.



I found an article from Russia where it says they provide free flu vaccine but do not force them.

“The deputy PM also said that experts in her ministry expected about 60 million Russians to be given a free vaccination this year. She added that almost 29 million people in the northern regions of the country had already done so.

“In mid-September this year, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova proposed cutting sick leave compensation for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children without a legitimate medical reason. However, the idea was met with strong opposition from the Russian children’s rights ombudsman, Anna Kuznetsova, who claimed that healthcare should not be enforced by punishment and that material restrictions could hurt children instead of protecting them.”


Veteran Fired for not getting Shot

What happened to the CARE in healthcare