LIBERTY, Mo. — An employee at Liberty Hospital fears she might lose her job because she doesn’t want to get a mandatory flu shot.
Judy Kelly, 54, has been told she has until December 1st to comply with the deadline set by the hospital for all employees.
“They’re requiring us to have the flu vaccine in order to keep our jobs,” Kelly said.
Kelly works as a radiology assistant for Liberty Hospital and doesn’t think the new vaccination mandate is fair.
“I just don’t want to be a guinea pig. Really I eat healthy, I take care of myself and I don’t want to have to do that,” Kelly explained. “I’ve heard and I’ve read it can make your immune system not as strong.”
The Centers for Disease Control says the flu vaccine is safe and effective and the agency says all healthcare workers should be protected.
Diane Kipping is the Director of Employee Health for Liberty Hospital and says the new requirement is intended to protect patients and employees alike.
“Statistics show that health care workers are frequently the individuals who are transmitting influenza not only to their families and co-workers but to patients as well.”
Kipping also says that Liberty Hospital only uses vaccines that are preservative free. That means they do not have any mercury in them.
Kipping says the hospital provides exemptions for religious or medical reasons but Kelly admits she’s opposed strictly on philosophical grounds, “I just want the right to say no if I don’t want to.”
Liberty Hospital says so far, it has granted three religious exemptions and five medical exemptions but it wants 95% of its 1,800 employees vaccinated.
Kipping says last year nearly 200 workers refused the flu shot when it wasn’t a requirement.