Hospitals to Workers: Get Flu Shots or Else

CHICAGO — In the past two months, at least 15 nurses and other hospital staffers in four states have been terminated from their positions for refusing to get flu shots.

Recent federal data notes that roughly 63% of U.S. healthcare workers had flu shots as of November. Although some hospitals have a rate of 90% among its workers, many fall short. As such, a government health advisory panel has urged those below 90% to consider implementing a mandatory program. Additionally, hospitals could possibly lose accreditation if they don’t improve vaccination rates, the Associated Press reports.

Several states have laws or regulations requiring healthcare workers to receive the flu vaccination. Of those, three states, including Arkansas, Maine and Rhode Island, have tough penalties in place for those that refuse.

Rhode Island’s regulation, enacted in December, allows exemptions for religious or medical reasons, but requires that all unvaccinated employees to wear face masks around patients during flu season. If workers fail to comply, they face a $100 fine, as well as a complaint for unprofessional conduct, which could lead to losing their professional licenses.

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