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Gary Evans writes Hospital Infection Control & Prevention (HIC), Hospital Employee Health (HEH) and contributes to IRB Advisor (IRB). As senior writer at AHC, Evans has written numerous articles on infectious disease threats to both patients and health care workers, including pandemic influenza, MERS and Ebola. He has been honored for excellence in analytical reporting five times by the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
In a legal challenge that could set a precedent for flu shot mandates, the Massachusetts Nurses Association has filed suit challenging a proposed mandatory flu vaccination policy at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. Under the policy, workers can forego the flu shot for medical or religious reasons, but otherwise could be subjected to discipline that could include job termination, the union charges in the suit.
“The state regulations around this issue are crystal clear,” the MNA said in statement. “A hospital cannot mandate that a nurse be vaccinated, only that they be provided with information and the opportunity to be vaccinated. It further clearly states that hospitals cannot take punitive action against a nurse who declines to be vaccinated. The Brigham’s policy violates this regulation and the clearly expressed right of nurses to decline vaccination without fear of retribution, so we are asking the court to help us ensure the law is followed and the Brigham respects the rights of nurses.”
Beyond the specifics of the lawsuit, the MNA opposes mandatory flu vaccination because:
No comment was available from the hospital as this story was filed.