A Missouri nurse was terminated from her job after she had refused to get flu shot, sparking a backlash.
Flu Shot Policy
A group of protesters rallied outside of the Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis on Monday after one nurse at the facility had been fired due to her refusal to be vaccinated because of religious reasons
Nelia Aubuchon, who organized the protest, said that the nurse was terminated after she had violated the hospital's policy that requires employees to receive a flu shot.
The nurse was granted a religious exemption from the yearly flu shot while working for the St. Anthony's Medical Center prior to it being acquired by Mercy.
Mercy, whose flu shot policy took effect in 2016, implemented its policy that requires all employees to get flu vaccination when it acquired St. Anthony's Medical Center earlier this year.
The policy has exceptions for those with medical or religious reasons but Aubuchon said that the nurse was terminated despite citing religion for her decision.
"It's about Mercy's denial of ALL religious and medical exemptions for their employees and their draconian measure of terminating those who will not give in to their policy. Mercy Hospital denied ALL doctor and religious leader signed exemption paperwork," Aubuchon said.
Condition For Employment
The hospital did not confirm if a nurse was indeed fired for not complying with the policy. However, it acknowledged that 170 of its 44,000 employees requested for medical or religious exemptions to getting a flu vaccine. While most of the requests were granted, there were employees whose exemptions were declined.
Mercy Hospital South spokesperson Bethany Pope said that these employees will be notified and will not be permitted to remain employed should they choose not to get vaccinated
Mercy said in a statement that requiring the vaccination of healthcare co-workers for flu can ensure the safety of co-workers, patients, and members of the community.
"Mercy revised our flu vaccination policy several years ago and requires compliance with the policy by all Mercy co-workers as a condition of employment," the hospital said.
Mercy Hospital South is not the only hospital that requires staff to get vaccinated. More than two-thirds of hospitals in the United States require their employees to get flu shot.