Requiring flu shots for the protection of patients is a growing trend in the health care industry. On average 5-20% of the population gets the flu each year. Of those cases an average of 200,000 hospitalizations and 24,000 deaths occur each year. It is estimated that 90% of the deaths are of people 65 and older. The very old, the very young and those with compromised immune systems due to other illnesses are most at risk.
The knee jerk reaction of many is that the employees should have simply gotten the shot. However, even medical professionals disagree about the safety of flu vaccines, so should these employees be required to get the vaccine or be fired if they don't?
No vaccine is 100% safe and serious side effects can result. The CDC maintains that while the risks of side effects are real, the incidence rates are very low. If you are one of the people that suffers a side-effect after being required to receive a shot in order to keep your job, do you really care about the odds? And are the rates of side-effects fully known? The system for doctors to report adverse reactions is voluntary, so even if patients report problems, will that data reach the CDC?
Each year the flu vaccine is just a 'best guess' as to which strains are coming around, and those guesses are not always correct. There are more than 250 strains and only 3 are included in the vaccine. Folks who are anti-flu shot do not believe the benefit of guesswork outweighs the risks. Furthermore, vaccines contain mercury, formaldehyde and a variety of other chemicals, that many in the medical profession believe contribute to subsequent diseases such as ALS, MS, Alzheimer's, autism, and possibly even cancer. There is also an increased risk of contracting GBS (Guillain-Barre syndrome).