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#1 of 55 Old 09-07-2012, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh....to work in a hospital and disagree with their mandatory flu vaccination policy.

 

I have gotten a religous exemption for the past 2 years, but they are making it very, very difficult to do so this year. And honestly not sure I could wear a mask all day, every day.

 

Are there other's in this position? What have you done? Do you put up with mask Nov-April or do you get the shot to make you work life easier?


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#2 of 55 Old 09-07-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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I get the flu shot.  I work for a large healthcare organization and it is mandatory.  There is a clause in our employment contracts that if we refuse it (for any reason including religious or philosophical or medical) then we will be terminated immediately.  It's not a big enough issue for me to feel like fighting it.  I work with people who are already sick/weakened and I don't want to chance passing on something to them.

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#3 of 55 Old 09-07-2012, 08:50 AM
 
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I get the flu shot.  I work for a large healthcare organization and it is mandatory.  There is a clause in our employment contracts that if we refuse it (for any reason including religious or philosophical or medical) then we will be terminated immediately.  It's not a big enough issue for me to feel like fighting it.  I work with people who are already sick/weakened and I don't want to chance passing on something to them.

 

Gosh this is just dispicable. I could never work for an organization like this! I mean there are people that have had severe life threatening reactions to the flu shot or are deathly allergic to eggs. You're telling me those people would be fired for refusing the flu shot? How can that be? I can see them refusing a religious exemption (I dont agree with it, but I know they can do it) but a verifiable medical problem? I can't see how that is legal?


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#4 of 55 Old 09-07-2012, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I get the flu shot.  I work for a large healthcare organization and it is mandatory.  There is a clause in our employment contracts that if we refuse it (for any reason including religious or philosophical or medical) then we will be terminated immediately.  It's not a big enough issue for me to feel like fighting it.  I work with people who are already sick/weakened and I don't want to chance passing on something to them.

 

Gosh this is just dispicable. I could never work for an organization like this! I mean there are people that have had severe life threatening reactions to the flu shot or are deathly allergic to eggs. You're telling me those people would be fired for refusing the flu shot? How can that be? I can see them refusing a religious exemption (I dont agree with it, but I know they can do it) but a verifiable medical problem? I can't see how that is legal?

 At our facility they do allow Medical exemptions. You have to have all of the allergy/reaction paperwork filled out by your MD.


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#5 of 55 Old 09-07-2012, 09:42 AM
 
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Gosh this is just dispicable. I could never work for an organization like this! I mean there are people that have had severe life threatening reactions to the flu shot or are deathly allergic to eggs. You're telling me those people would be fired for refusing the flu shot? How can that be? I can see them refusing a religious exemption (I dont agree with it, but I know they can do it) but a verifiable medical problem? I can't see how that is legal?

 

Employees who were hired before the clause and had existing exemptions were grandfathered in--in that they don't loose their jobs.  However, during flu season they are required to work in non-patient care areas and must still wear masks.  This means that clinicians such as RNs end up working with laundry or doing office work during flu season.

 

For everyone else, you are explicitly told about the vaccine requirements before filling out the application, before a job offer is made, and before you sign the contract.  It isn't hidden.  People with known allergies to vaccine components don't apply or don't accept the job.  It's unfortunate for sure because I'm certain that some quality care providers look elsewhere because of this.  If you didn't know of an allergy, signed the contract, and then later found out about an allergy that would prevent you from getting the flu shot then you would loose your job.  I don't know what kind of legal oomph is behind it--but it's a large organization, not a little community one.

 

For what it's worth, this isn't entirely unheard of.  I went to nursing school in a different area of the country.  I had a documented severe allergy to the pertussis vaccine as a child.  I brought the documentation to the attention of the school dean (and this, again, was a large well-known private university).  The response?  Get the vaccine booster or forfeit your acceptance to the school.  I ended up getting the vaccine, took some precautions, and didn't have too bad of a reaction this time around.  

 

Wanting to work as a nurse and also wanting to refuse vaccines can be a very challenging road to walk down.

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#6 of 55 Old 09-07-2012, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wanting to work as a nurse and also wanting to refuse vaccines can be a very challenging road to walk down.

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When I began my work as a nurse, I didn't think twice about vaccines. But two kids and one vax reaction later and now it's a whole different world to me.


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#7 of 55 Old 09-07-2012, 10:41 AM
 
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...And that's why I decided to stay away from the nursing career. I recently decided not to go through with my nursing degree and went a different direction because I know a couple of gals who got fired for refusing (one was a medical exemption). One of my friends couldn't complete her clinicals and therefore, couldn't graduate. It sucks, it really really sucks. I've always wanted to be a nurse too. greensad.gif But, I don't want to have to fight a battle every flu season. 


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#8 of 55 Old 09-07-2012, 11:03 AM
 
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Employees who were hired before the clause and had existing exemptions were grandfathered in--in that they don't loose their jobs.  However, during flu season they are required to work in non-patient care areas and must still wear masks.  This means that clinicians such as RNs end up working with laundry or doing office work during flu season.

 

For everyone else, you are explicitly told about the vaccine requirements before filling out the application, before a job offer is made, and before you sign the contract.  It isn't hidden.  People with known allergies to vaccine components don't apply or don't accept the job.  It's unfortunate for sure because I'm certain that some quality care providers look elsewhere because of this.  If you didn't know of an allergy, signed the contract, and then later found out about an allergy that would prevent you from getting the flu shot then you would loose your job.  I don't know what kind of legal oomph is behind it--but it's a large organization, not a little community one.

 

For what it's worth, this isn't entirely unheard of.  I went to nursing school in a different area of the country.  I had a documented severe allergy to the pertussis vaccine as a child.  I brought the documentation to the attention of the school dean (and this, again, was a large well-known private university).  The response?  Get the vaccine booster or forfeit your acceptance to the school.  I ended up getting the vaccine, took some precautions, and didn't have too bad of a reaction this time around.  

 

Wanting to work as a nurse and also wanting to refuse vaccines can be a very challenging road to walk down.

 That is disgusting - truly disgusting. Basically shows that this organization could give 2 S***T's about it's employees. I can understand having a clause in there so that people that have had known reactions or allergies can choose to look for employment elsewhere, but to take away someone's job and render them unemployed and unable to feed their family possibly, because they might develop an allergy later in life (happens all the time) or might have a horrific reaction to a vaccine through no fault of their own is just DISGUSTING.  That group of people (and  I can imagine it would be quite small) could be made to work in other areas like the grandfathered folks. If that ever happened to someone honestly they would have a wrongful termination lawsuit on their hands.  


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#9 of 55 Old 09-07-2012, 01:05 PM
 
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What about shedding? Do they use the flu-mist vaccine or shots?

 

I honestly believe that no employer should have the right to mandate vaccines especially not when there has been medical problems before or after a vaccination. That is just outright discrimination.

 

I wish the OP good luck in getting an excemption.


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#10 of 55 Old 09-24-2012, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to update that I did end up getting the flu shot. I completely disagree with the policy though. Had I not gotten it I would have had to wear an "indicator" on my badge so people would know and wear a mask all of the time through March/April. I feel a little diappointed in myself, but had to weigh lots of things (like keeping my job so my kids can stay in Waldorf school) and decided this was the best decision for my family. At least it was me and not the my kids who had to get it.

 

Any other healthcare workers out there decide what they are going to do?


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#11 of 55 Old 09-24-2012, 10:53 AM
 
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Just wanted to update that I did end up getting the flu shot. I completely disagree with the policy though. Had I not gotten it I would have had to wear an "indicator" on my badge so people would know and wear a mask all of the time through March/April. I feel a little diappointed in myself, but had to weigh lots of things (like keeping my job so my kids can stay in Waldorf school) and decided this was the best decision for my family. 

 

But it wasn't a question of keeping your job--just having to wear a mask and an indicator on your badge, right? Which is still way too much and totally obnoxious of the hospital, but much different than being fired for not getting the vaccine, which is what many nurses face.

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#12 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, it is true that I did have that option. I just had so many thoughts going through my head when trying to make the decision, that I suppose that is how it felt.  At the facility I worked before this, there was no option other than losing your job. I feel for those having to make these difficult decisions when there are no other options.

 

My arm aches terribly today, espeically in the joints. greensad.gif


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#13 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 10:51 AM
 
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Yes, it is true that I did have that option. I just had so many thoughts going through my head when trying to make the decision, that I suppose that is how it felt.  At the facility I worked before this, there was no option other than losing your job. I feel for those having to make these difficult decisions when there are no other options.

 

My arm aches terribly today, espeically in the joints. greensad.gif

Don't beat yourself up over it.

 

A lot of adults take risks with themselves they would not take with their kids - we are, after all, adults.  Our bodies are often better able to handle a vaccine, and we know our own medical history and are more likely to know if a vaccine is a good idea.

 

I hope you arm feels better soon!  

 

Stay away from Tylenol for the arm pain:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/SwineFlu/tylenol-shots-hurt-vaccines-effectiveness/story?id=8840239#.UGHu6Y6RB7E


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#14 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 11:33 AM
 
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I had a sore arm & joints in my hand for a couple of days after my flu shot once. It went away on its own after a little while. I'm a health care worker as well, and I'll take that minor reaction in exchange for decreasing the likelihood of exposing my patients. That, plus I had the flu once and it totally sucked, so I'd rather be less likely to get the flu myself as well (or to have the toddler get it, particularly as the vaccine isn't all that effective in that population). 

 

As for the mask/indicator on badge, as far as I'm concerned patients in a hospital deserve to have knowledge of what risks they take in their care. If the provider taking care of them isn't vaccinated, they deserve to know that. 


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#15 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 02:34 PM
 
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I had a sore arm following the H1N1 vaccines. I read at the time it was a common side effect related to the type of adjuvant used. It went without problem after a few days.

The recommendations about avoiding Tylenol to improve vaccinate effectiveness only apply to giving it before the vaccination in order to reduce fever. You should be fine with your pain medication of choice, although I would think ibuprofen best for this kind of deep muscle ache.

Good on you for projecting your patients.

Flu shots do not shed., so no need to worry there.

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#16 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 03:05 PM
 
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Flu shots do not shed., so no need to worry there.

 

http://experimentalvaccines.org/2012/08/18/sneezing-the-new-wmd-weaponized-mucus-device/

 

Sneezing the New WMD Weaponized Mucus Device

 on  at 7:15 pm

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#17 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 04:13 PM
 
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A bit of a sensationalist article, there. It is a valid point, perhaps, that the nasal vaccine may not be great in a population that isn't good at covering their sneezes. The fact remains that the injectable flu vaccine, which the OP got, is an inactivated virus and therefore does not shed.


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#18 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 04:25 PM
 
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I'm in the same boat.  I've never had a flu shot.  I don't believe in them.   I've been with my company for 8 years and I've been able to decline it.  This year it is mandatory.  I could wear the mask, but I just feel like that's miserable and uncomfortable and not very practical.  I think I'll probably reluctantly take the shot.  


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#19 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 04:41 PM
 
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I am an RN too and we have mandatory flu vaccines at the hospital I work for.  I refused the first few years and managed to fly under the radar without anyone noticing, but in the last few years they have been cracking down.  If we don't get the vaccine we get fired.  If you have a documented allergy or sensitivity or religious objection, you can get an exemption, but you have to wear a mask within 6 feet of patients/visitors at all times throughout the duration of the flu season.  I am sad to say that I ended up caving and just getting the shot because I couldn't stand wearing a mask for months on end.  It is so HOT and uncomfortable!  I am really angry about the whole policy though.  My employer should have no say in what I put in my body!  My boss isn't allowed to tell me to have sex with him or else I'll get fired or need to wear a mask for months on end.  How is it that he can tell me that I have to have a needle inserted into my arm and dead germs injected into my body?  Wrong, wrong, wrong!  My body does not belong to my employer and I should not be coerced into doing something with it that I don't want to. 


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#20 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 04:49 PM
 
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My boss isn't allowed to tell me to have sex with him or else I'll get fired or need to wear a mask for months on end.  How is it that he can tell me that I have to have a needle inserted into my arm and dead germs injected into my body?  Wrong, wrong, wrong!  My body does not belong to my employer and I should not be coerced into doing something with it that I don't want to. 

 

This isn't the same as vaccines--You having sex with your boss would not increase the likelihood of your immunocompromised patients contracting a sexually transmitted disease.  

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This isn't the same as vaccines--You having sex with your boss would not increase the likelihood of your immunocompromised patients contracting a sexually transmitted disease.  

If her boss had any kind of communicable disease and infected rnra with it, she would then be putting her patients at risk.

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#22 of 55 Old 09-25-2012, 10:32 PM
 
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Not all communicable diseases and transmission routes are equal.

 

The flu is typically spread by droplets that are spread when an infected person talks, coughs, sneezes, etc.  Nurses speak to their patients and inadvertently spread droplets in the patient environment all day (and night) long.

 

Sexually transmitted diseases typically require contact with mucous membranes.  The mucous membranes of a nurse should never be touching those of a patient.  Consequently, the risk of a nurse spreading that kind of communicable disease would be very slim compared to the much greater possibility of a nurse spreading one that is droplet-borne.

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#23 of 55 Old 09-26-2012, 05:20 AM
 
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Health care is first and foremost about the needs of the patient. Requiring health care workers to either get the flu shot or to wear a mask is an effort taken to protect patients. It has nothing to do with "controlling your body" (and heck, all our employers "control our bodies" in a sense, of requiring us to bring our bodies to a certain place at a certain time and use them to perform certain tasks). In fact, you've been offered two different options for what to do with your body, either get the shot or wear a mask. Sexual harassment/assault is an irrelevant and poor analogy, because it carries no benefit--which is the point rnra was making. (Oh, and that analogy is downright offensive to boot.) Some may find the utility of the flu shot in the general population debatable, but patients in the hospital aren't the general population--they're sick and vulnerable, and a case of flu could be a big deal for many of them. If you don't want to take steps to protect them, you should get a job somewhere else. 


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#24 of 55 Old 09-26-2012, 06:02 AM
 
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Health care is first and foremost about the needs of the patient. 

 

This gave me an ironic chuckle. Healthcare is first and foremost about profit.


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#25 of 55 Old 09-26-2012, 06:14 AM
 
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and what the ins co thinks is best for you regardless of what the dr prescribed....how many times we have been given a specific prescription only to have the ins co try something 'cheaper'..in the end, it costs more, due to illness NOT being treated properly...i have witnessed this over and over with myself and kids in this system.     Bottom line is the ins co profits, not patient health.  

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This gave me an ironic chuckle. Healthcare is first and foremost about profit.

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#26 of 55 Old 09-26-2012, 06:31 AM
 
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I tried to place myself in a patient shoes…..

 

Would I be annoyed in I were in the hospital and my nurse did not have her flu shot?

 

Truthfully - no - how could I be when I do not take the flu shot myself?  She is still a person who has a right to decide if the risks of the flu shot are worth it to her.

 

I would be annoyed as hell if she came to work sick, though!  I have seen sick nurses at work.  

 

I know sometimes people are contagious before they show symptoms, but that is true of everyone. It is a risk of living.

 

I would not mind nurses having to wear a mask in flu season.  Certainly the unvaxxed, but perhaps the vaxxed as well if the flu is whipping through the hospital.   The flu vaccine is not even close to 100% effective.

 

There are numerous ways to stay healthy and prevent the spread of infection - sleep well, eat well, mild or moderate use of alcohol only, do not smoke, avoid stress., etc. People who lead a healthy lifestyle can get unlucky and catch stuff, but they are less likely to. Personally, I would prefer to have a person who took care of themselves and was unvaxxed standing in front of me  than a cigarette smoking, twinkie-diet vaxxed person, yet no one would think of excluding nurses from being hired based on sleep, eat and drink habits.

 

Here is an article that discusses that smokers are far more likely to get the flu than non-smokers.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_tobacco

The stuff on the flu and smoking is under a heading 3/4 of the way down.

 

 

"The effect of cigarette smoking upon epidemic influenza was studied prospectively among 1,811 male college students. Clinical influenza incidence among those who daily smoked 21 or more cigarettes was 21% higher than that of non-smokers. Influenza incidence among smokers of 1 to 20 cigarettes daily was intermediate between non-smokers and heavy cigarette smokers.[102]"

 

 

Shall health care professional who smoke not be hired - or have to wear masks?  I would hope anyone arguing for mandatory flu vaccines for hcp would say yes, otherwise I smell some hypocrisy.


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#27 of 55 Old 09-26-2012, 06:44 AM
 
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This gave me an ironic chuckle. Healthcare is first and foremost about profit.

In the states. 

 

Why I love having moved back the UK. Canada would also be preferable. Odd country you all live in! ;) (FYI I lived there for 8 years and my husband is American, so I feel I have a great love-hate relationship it!). 

 

We've gone a bit off topic though!


Mother of two living in UK. Daughter (2007) born in USA, son (2010) born here. I'm pro natural birth, midwife care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and a keen advocate of cloth diapering. I'm a full time working research scientist (physical sciences) and I'm pro-vaccine.

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#28 of 55 Old 09-26-2012, 07:39 AM
 
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the point here is that the job is not mandatory, but the rules of the job are, and they are given up front and in some of the cases have acceptable if annoying alternatives. whatever you thin k of vaccines, the fact that folks coming to work with the flu are more likely to spread it to patients that may be already very sick is a concern and should be.  this seems more ok than for instance making school kids get the shot, since without great hassle there is not a legal alternative for grade school. There is other jobs.

 

this is akin to me complaining that a job i had a few years back required me to wear a lot of protective gear, some of it really irritated my skin and the googles gave me headaches.  we talked about it and a few things could get worked around, i bought my own goggles that had the same safety rating for instance. but other things were in place because of the risks of the role. so i sucked it up and did it. i know another guy who was driven to quit over it and that what his choice.  he had a choice to go work in another area, but it was let fun so he choose to quit.

 

yes a shot if a bigger deal than welding goggles, and yes there are more complex issues around the, but at its heart it is the same thing. rules for a job i wanted, that were laid out and i choose to take the job and keep it, other s did not. all ok chooses, including our employer deciding what safety measures she felt were needed in her shop.


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#29 of 55 Old 09-26-2012, 08:02 AM
 
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yes a shot if a bigger deal than welding goggles, and yes there are more complex issues around the, but at its heart it is the same thing. rules for a job i wanted, that were laid out and i choose to take the job and keep it, other s did not. all ok chooses, including our employer deciding what safety measures she felt were needed in her shoes.

Fwiw, I have more compassion for those whose employers changed the rules on them after they were hired versus those who are complaining about not being able to apply due to rules they do not like.

 

None-the-less, hospitals here are funded by our taxes, and I imagine many are in the states as well, so it is not just an "employer can do what he wants" scenario. 

 

I don't think anybody gets a free pass on ethics  - making a medical procedure mandatory as a condition of employment is ethically questionable to me.  Moreover, letting smokers and others who have high risk factors for developing the flu work while barring non-vaxxed from working sounds discriminatory to me.


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...

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#30 of 55 Old 09-26-2012, 09:41 AM
 
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This gave me an ironic chuckle. Healthcare is first and foremost about profit.

To the extent to which this is true, it shouldn't be, so what's your point? Do you actually want healthcare entities to care more about profits than they do about patient care? Do you want your health care providers to be in it for the money, or in it because they want to care for patients? Unless you actually WANT your health care to be first and foremost profit-driven, you aren't really accomplishing anything by sniping at my post. 


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