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Get the Shot or Get Fired: Michigan Hospital Making Flu Shots Mandatory for Hospital Employees

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Deciding to get a flu shot is probably a good idea to keep yourself from getting sick during the peak flu season or if you have a compromised immune system. But what if it wasn’t a choice and what if your employer forced you to get the shot? For employees at one Michigan hospital, that’s exactly the situation they face now.

Munson Healthcare, which includes the flagship Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, MI, is insisting that their employees get a flu shot by December 31 or get fired. The hospital officials argue that individual choice must be compromised for the welfare of hospital patients. Chief operating officer, Kathleen McManus, says that hospital officials decided to make the flu shot mandatory for all hospital staff because the percentage of staff voluntarily getting the shot has never topped 65%.

However, hospital staff are not taking the requirement lightly. In fact, about 50% of the staff recently showed up at a meeting of Michigan Opposing Mandatory Vaccines, a Detroit-based group promoting vaccine choice. Employees have also begun circulating petitions and hope to get community support behind them. There are some exemptions to the mandatory vaccination, including faith-based and allergy objections. However, individuals claiming faith-based objections must provide a note from a pastor. Hospital staff argue that they should be allowed to make the decision what to inject into their bodies, and some say that they would wear a medical mask to protect their patients from illness.