12/12/12 — Hospital now requires flu shot

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Hospital now requires flu shot

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 12, 2012 1:46 PM

Employees at Wayne Memorial Hospital who do not get a flu shot can be fired, officials said Tuesday.

One person has already been terminated after choosing not to get the vaccine, confirmed Georgia Dees, director of public relations.

The requirement was prompted by the need to protect patient safety.

"It's a condition of employment here now," she said. "You have to have a flu vaccine to work here.

"It protects the patients and the families and the guests that come in as well as staff."

The policy change is fairly recent, Mrs. Dees said, with employees given a deadline of Dec. 1 to get the vaccine.

"Just this year, the hospital has implemented a mandatory flu shot," she explained. "They had two or three months to get that flu shot. We decided to do that following the CDC guidelines on flu vaccines."

According to the Centers for Disease Control website, the recommendation is for all U.S. health care workers to be vaccinated annually against influenza.

Specifically, that includes, but is not limited to, physicians, nurses and nursing assistants, therapists, technicians, emergency service personnel, housekeeping, laundry, security, maintenance and administration. Even if the employee is not directly involved in patient care, there is the risk of being potentially exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from other staff and patients, the site said.

Calling it an "interesting topic of conversation," Mrs. Dees said the situation is not unique to Wayne Memorial.

"There's some people that were not happy with it, but we're not the only ones doing it," she said. "There's a lot of hospitals out there (that are)."

It's slightly different at the Wayne County Health Department.

Josa Raynor Vaughn, communicable disease program manager, said the vaccine is made available to the public as well as staff, but it is more of a suggestion.

"We recommend that if you work in a health care setting you get the flu vaccine. It's just a recommendation. Some places, like the hospital, it's mandatory," she said. "Most of our staff actually gets it.

"I would say, I don't know how many countywide, but we also have it that anybody in county government can come in and get the vaccine."