Should healthcare workers be required to get flu shots?

Hospital-acquired infections can be deadly to patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 1.7 million patients acquire an infection while in the hospital which is about 1 in 20 patients. Of those patients, approximately 100,000 patients die of complications caused by the infection they picked up in the hospital.

One solution to bringing down the number of infections is requiring hospital staff to be vaccinated for common diseases including the flu, hepatitis B and chicken pox.
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In Michigan, some hospitals are making it mandatory that their employees get a flu shot. Previously, compliance at many hospitals has been as low as 50%.

According to an article we found on Michigan radio, More hospitals require flu shots as condition of employment by Tracy Samilton, some employees are bristling about the new requirement calling it a “civil rights issue.”

While the Michigan hospitals are letting employees opt out if they have allergies or if their faith prohibit it, they are requiring employees to get the shots or get fired.

It seems to us like vaccinations in a health care setting is extremely important to protect the lives of patients. Healthcare workers and patients can be contagious up to a couple of days before they feel flu symptoms. A doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist or even house keeping staff could potentially spread the flu to people with compromised immune systems.

When a healthcare professional is working in a hospital setting, he or she is part of a team that should contribute to healing and caring for patients. Inadvertently spreading germs either through poor hand washing or failure to be vaccinated seems to us like negligence.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people with medical malpractice claims and the family of those who have died. With our help, you may receive compensation for your damages.

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