Nov 21, 2012

Wisconsin Hospitals Mandating Employee Flu Shots

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 More than one-fourth of Wisconsin hospitals require employees to get flu shots, saying that the mandate will help protect workers and patients from the respiratory illness. Among those is UW Hospital in Madison. “It makes sense to do whatever we can to implement the one measure we know will reduce hospital-acquired influenza, said Dr. Nasia Safdar, infection control head at the hospital. The union representing UW Health’s nurses and therapists wants the facility to consider an exemption for personal beliefs in addition to the policy’s exemptions for medical and religious reasons. “We support flu shots, but we don’t think they should be mandatory,” said SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin treasurer Ann Louise Tetreault.
 La Crosse and Winona hospitals agree with that philosophy, following policies that strongly suggest but do not require employees to get vaccines. At the Mayo Clinic Health System-La Crosse, employees must either get a vaccine or sign a statement declaring why they don’t want to, said Chief Administration Officer Joseph Kruse.
Most of those who decline either express concern about the vaccine or say they became sick after a vaccination, he said.The policy, in its second year, was instituted because of evidence from the Centers for Disease Control that the vaccine is important, Kruse said.
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