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Mandatory flu shots for healthcare workers increasingly common
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Mandatory flu shots for healthcare workers increasingly common

Mandatory flu shots for healthcare workers increasingly common

Mandatory flu shots for healthcare workers increasingly common

Recently, eight workers at the IU Health Goshen Hospital in Indiana were fired for refusing to submit to flu vaccinations.

That has sparked debate nationally over whether such shots should be required and whether religious or other objections should outweigh the argument in favor of vaccinating healthcare workers.

Joyce Gingerich was one of the nurses fired. She told Fox News Radio her reasons are "Biblical, that they are God led, and they're who I am."

Gingerich also claims "it's (the vaccine) a toxin that I don't want in my body. There are side effects with that. There are no guarantees that it's even going to protect you."

Dr. Jeffrey Galles runs Utica Park Clinic for Hillcrest Healthcare System in Tulsa.

He tells KRMG the religious objection won't fly with most employers.

"Within most healthcare systems if they are mandating that the influenza vaccine be given, a religious exclusion would not be considered acceptable."

He says the safety and most importantly the effectiveness of flu vaccines has been clinically proven.

"I can tell you that within Utica Park Clinic, over 90 percent of our employees that have direct patient care receive the flu vaccine and those that don't generally have some sort of a medical exclusion, meaning they've had a reaction to the flu vaccine or they're intolerant to the flu vaccine," a factor that's very rare in the general population.

And there's good reason for the policy require flu shots, Dr. Galles says.

"People are contagious before they develop symptoms. So a person can truly be infected with influenza, have no symptoms for 24 to 48 hours, but be able to transmit the virus."

That's especially dangerous, of course, in an environment full of people already suffering a wide variety of medical conditions, many of whom have compromised immune systems.

"Influenza is one of the most communicable diseases we see," Dr. Galles told KRMG. "The last thing we need is for infected staff to be exposing influenza virus to patients who are at risk."

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