Ethel Hoover wore all black on her last day of work. She said she was in “mourning” over the loss of her job. In February she would have completed 22 years of service.
University Health Goshen Hospital, of Indiana, fired 8 employees, at least three of them veteran nurses, for refusing mandatory flu shots. The CDC has reported of 15,000 cases of influenza, resulting in at least 18 deaths. The CDC also reported that although receiving the vaccine cannot guarantee immunity from the flu, it will decrease the severity of the symptoms.
Ms. Hoover told ABC news that she had refused the vaccine for 21 years, and now she’s expected to believe in it. The hospital has 26,000 employees statewide, only 1300 refused to receive the vaccine. Only 8 were fired over the controversy.
In a survey, nurses are the most reluctant group to receive the immunization. Many of them believe that receiving the virus will make them sick.
The hospital says that promising to stay home if you feel sick is not a viable option. They say that that before a person feels ill, they are already contagious. The deadline to receive the vaccine was December 15th, Ms. Hoover’s last day was the 21st. Taking the mandatory flu shot was a requirement for continuation of employment.
Here’s the question: Should a person have the right to decide if they will or will not accept an object or substance placed internally into their own bodies? If any individual is fearful of becoming ill because of the use of any medication, preventative, or corrective, do they have the right to refuse it? Should pre-requisites for employment have unlimited scope? And, if the CDC has stated that receiving the vaccine is not a guarantee against infection, would it still be contagious, even though the symptoms were minimal? I’m certain the answer is yes.
I have always believed that everyone should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies. This includes a woman’s freedom of choice in relation to pregnancy. This is another case of “invasion of privacy”. Many of our individual freedoms were taken away by Bush’s Patriot Act. How far can those in authority stretch the words of our Constitution to serve their own purpose?
With all the facts reported in the ABC story, the argument appears to favor the choice to refuse the vaccine. Personally, my own body is so susceptible to medication, I can‘t take anything but aspirin, and then only half the recommended dosage. From the statements of her fellow employees, what has happened is that the hospital has lost a dedicated and talented employee in Ms. Hoover.