St. Mary's Hospital Policy Mandates Flu Vaccine for Staff

By David Noss

CALIFORNIA, Md. (November 11, 2010)—St. Mary's Hospital medical staff members, volunteers, students, residents, contracted staff, and vendors will be required to have the flu vaccine this year, according to a press release issued by the hospital this afternoon.

"The decision to require associates and other individuals working within the hospital to receive an influenza vaccination is based on recommendations from all major regulatory, health, national, scientific and accrediting agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Nurses Association, The Joint Commission and the American Medical Association," states the document.

The hospital says the mandatory vaccine policy is a patient safety initiative. "By giving prevention a shot, these individuals help build a healthy workplace and safer environment for patients, family members at home, co-workers and the community."

Similar policies in the healthcare industry have been met with resistance from staff in previous years on the basis of vaccine safety issues, religious beliefs, and the personal freedom to choose what is put into one's body.

"As a general rule, medicine should be a voluntary occupation," George Annas, a Boston University bioethicist told the Washington Post in a September 2009 report. "Once you start requiring doctors to get it, doctors are going to think it's reasonable to make patients get it. It starts you down that mandatory route, and I don't think we want to go there."

St. Mary's Hospital is a member of the MedStar Health system. The hospital is located in Leonardtown, St. Mary's County.


Mandatory Flu Shots Hit Resistance, Washington Post, September 26, 2009

New York Health Care Workers Resist Flu Vaccine Rule, New York Times, September 20, 2009

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