Flu shots mandatory for UMMC employees

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi Medical Center is, for the first time, requiring each of its employees to get a flu shot.

Dr. Skip Nolan, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, said that in years past, the medical center made the vaccination voluntary. Only 60 percent of employees got the flu shot last year, and Nolan said that's not enough.

"It's a patient safety issue," Nolan told The Clarion-Ledger http://tinyurl.com/mdu9xtj ).

Employees have until November 11 to get the vaccination or ask for an exemption for religious or medical reasons.

Nolan said UMMC began talking about this program last year. There has also been some employee push-back, but they won't know how many people refuse to get the shot until the middle of November.

The issue is one that many businesses deal with during flu season. Normally healthy adults come down with the flu, which might just seem like a cold.

"But then young adults try to work through it because they don't want to be a burden on their co-workers, and they end up spreading the flu to people who could get very sick or die," Nolan said.

Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson offers flu shots on a voluntary basis, starting October first. If employees don't get the shot, they're required to wear a mask within six feet of patient care areas.

The G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson says flu shots are "encouraged but not mandatory" for its employees.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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