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Can Doctors & Nurses Refuse Flu Shots?

1:02 AM, Jan 13, 2013   |    comments
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CHICAGO (AP) - A thorny question is emerging in the health care world as hospitals increasingly crack down on employees who won't get flu shots.

Patients can refuse, so why not doctors and nurses?

Affected workers, hospital authorities and published reports say that in the past two months, at least 15 nurses and other hospital staffers in four states have been fired for refusing, and several have resigned.

In Rhode Island, one of three states with tough penalties behind a mandatory vaccine policy for health care workers, a labor union is suing over it.

Hospitals' get-tougher measures coincide with an earlier-than-usual flu season which has become widespread in most states. At least 20 children have died.

Most doctors and nurses do get flu shots.

Dr. Carolyn Bridges of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there's a need for stronger data on whether it helps.