Mandatory Masking During Flu Season

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Janna Campbell RN JannaCampbellRN 4 years, 7 months ago.

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    Like many hospitals, my hospital tries to encourage all of its employees to get the free flu vaccine they provide every year. Personally, I’m all in favor of the vaccine, but I’m not in favor of my hospital’s stance against those that do not want to receive it. They demand that everyone gets one, and if they refuse, they have to sign a declination form, which states several facts that are blatantly wrong and not backed up by any science and goes against what the CDC actually says, and then after signing that you have read AND AGREE to all of the bogus facts, you have to agree to wear a mask during the entire flu season as long as you are in a department which has patients in it.

    There is no evidence that this mask wearing helps at all, other than the studies that show that hospitals that enact punitive measures into their flu vaccine program, such as mandatory mask wearing, has higher levels of compliance, because many who just don’t want the needle, will gave in and get it if the alternative is three months of a hot and sweaty mask.

    If wearing a mask during flu season actually helped, then why aren’t all nurses required to wear a mask during flu seasons in which the vaccine did not relate well to the flu strain in circulation? Why aren’t nurses required to wear masks during RSV outbreaks, when this virus causes more hospitalizations in infants and has bad outcomes for the elderly, just like the flu?

    I believe it all comes down to the money. In order to get some federal monies, the hospital has to show such and such a percentage of flu vaccination amongst the staff. If this is really the reason, why don’t they just come out and say, the hospital will lose this much money if you guys don’t get your shot? I would be more likely to respond well to the truth than to the bogus form they wanted me to sign.

    For the record, I did get my shot at another location so I declined the free one from my hospital. All I had to do was state I already received one and sign the form, but by signing the form, it said I agreed to all of the facts listed on it, which I did not, so I refused to sign the form (and I may have neglected to tell them I already had a shot too.) 😉 It finally came down to the point in which my bosses boss was talking progressive disciplinary action and the infection control nurse was talking to the hospital lawyer, so I printed a note saying I received vaccine such and such with a lot number of X and expiration date of Y and had my doctor and I sign it and turned it in, which appeased them well enough to drop it, but I still didn’t sign their factually flawed, philosophically fascist form.

    What do you think of mandatory vaccines? I love vaccines and wish more people would get them so I didn’t have to see kids coming in with easily preventable diseases and I never have to see anyone suffer the long term effects of tetanus, but after serving in the Army, I can see how having a choice on what goes into your body should be a right.

    Just curious how other hospitals encourage their employees to get the flu shot without getting fascist in nature … or is that the only option left to hospitals to keep their numbers up?

    Profile photo of LisaRN

    OMG! We were just talking about this very subject at work the other night! Our hospital requires that we receive the shot in October OR wear a mask from October to MARCH! SIX MONTHS of a sweaaty mask encouraged me to get a shot I do not believe in, AND that the CDC ssays is non-effective on most flu viruses and sometimes they pick the wrong one to replicate into our vaccines. Don’t get me wrong I do believe some people should get the shot IF THEY WANT like elderly, or immunocompromised but what bothers me is that the hospital ASKS the patient if they have recieved the shot and if they WANT the shot and if not they don’t have to wear masks for their stay. Not particularly to for our protection but what about the other ancillary staff? the doctors, and visitors? I guess it just angers me that WE are required regarding more than just these vaccines and it angers me to be REQUIRED to do anything I don’t believe in just to keep my job. It doesn’t feel American 🙁


    In 30 yrs I have only taken the shot twice. Back when it was live virus and this year (or wear the mask). Both times that I have taken the shot, I have missed several days with the flu! I think it should be no different for me than any other patient. Informed consent! If I elect not to take the shot it is MY decision to make. Ironic, the years I have not taken it I haven’t had the flu! This being said, I am also against the seatbelt law. I think what decisions we make should be our own, not mandated.

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