Sunday, Dec 8, 2013
Flu Shot Mandatory for SIH Employees
CARBONDALE -- Southern Illinois Healthcare has a new policy meant to protect patients and staff. All workers are now required to get a flu shot. If they don't, they'll lose their job.
Some SIH employees have complained about the new policy but many other healthcare groups already have such a rule.
"For most this is a patient safety initiative," said SIH spokesperson Rossilind Rice. "Flu is such a significant threat to our most vulnerable patients, such as the infants and the elderly."
All employees must receive the shot before November 30th. It's just one of several policies meant to protect patients.
"We have enacted restrictive visitations policies at the height of flu season," explained Rice. "It's usually in the winter when things get bad."
SIH flu specialist Dr. Erica Kaufman believes the new policy will benefit patients and employees.
"I think forgetting to get the flu shot or neglecting to get the flu shot is always a mistake," said Kaufman.
Some workers told us it's unfair. Others don't want the shot because they believe it makes them sick.
"You might feel achy and not great for a day or two but the vaccine does not give you the actual virus," explained Kaufman. "You don't get sick from it."
Rice says employees with allergic reactions to the vaccine are not required to get the shot.
"If we have had employees that have had a severe reaction to the flu shot in the past of course a medical exemption form could be filled out," said Rice. "SIH is offering two different kinds of shots this year. There is an egg free vaccine in addition to the regular vaccine and we are also offering the flu mist."
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