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I feel bullied into getting a flu shot. Is this against my rights?

Thursday December 13, 2012
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I feel like I'm being bullied into getting a flu shot. I understand the national push to protect patients and staff. But I’ve never had the flu as an adult. In 1997 I got a flu shot and subsequently came down with a terrible flu, which caused me to miss work for three days. The next year I declined the shot and I have not had one since, nor have I had the flu. I think that once you contract the flu naturally, that is your body’s way of saying it is time for you to get the vaccine. In nearly 20 years of nursing, I've only been sick one other time. I feel like I'm being penalized by having to wear a mask. I’m told I should be happy I don't get sick, but I could still be a carrier and infect patients. My thought on this is that couldn't everyone be a carrier? Is this against my human rights? I certainly feel as it is. If I don't get sick and I don't go to work sick — can I really still be responsible for making others sick?

Feels Bullied

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Feels Bullied,

You are not alone in your feelings. This is a frequently asked question of Nancy Brent, nurse attorney, of Brent's Law. See what she has to say on the subject in these two posts: http://news.nurse.com/article/20091019/ALL05/91022007 and http://news.nurse.com/article/20111012/ALL05/111011006. Her posts also include many helpful links to related issues about employee rights.

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.