MetroHealth: Mandatory vaccinations for medical staff

6:32 PM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Get a flu shot or risk losing your job?

That is the latest policy at MetroHealth Medical Center.

Influenza kills 36,000 Americans each year -- mostly children, older adults and those with compromised immune systems.

The hospital says it's implementing the policy more for the 30,000 patients that come there each year than the staffers.

The medical facility has already vaccinated 4,000 employees.

"We feel we have a duty to protect our patients when they come to Metro. Our first job is to make sure people are safe when they come into the hospital," Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alfred Connors said.

So far, around 60 employees have refused for a variety of reasons. If they don't get an exemption, they could lose their jobs.

"People are in an uproar about it and they say the nurses sit around the lunchroom and say 'I don't want that shot I haven't had a flu shot ever.' I'm a single mom. I can't afford to not have my job," Dr. Sherri Tenpenny said.

Tenpenny, a local physician, is not affiliated with MetroHealth. 

Thirteen percent of hospitals nationwide require employees to get vaccinations.

Locally, the Cleveland Clinic strongly urges vaccinations but does not require it.

University Hospitals requires flu shots for employees that get within six feet of patients.

Summa Health Care systems has a mandatory flu shot policy for all employees, unless they have a medical or religious expemption.


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