Everyone knows the flu shot has a serious purpose. After all, it's a safeguard against a condition that kills 36,000 people a year, according to the John Hopkins School of Medicine. But for the workers of one Ohio health center, the risks of skipping out on the vaccine extended beyond increased risk of catching the flu -- they got fired.
TriHealth, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based health center fired 150 of its workers the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for not complying with a mandate that every member of the 10,800-person staff get the vaccine, which was being offered for free on-site. The workers had been given a month to comply with the mandate before Nov. 16, according to local Ohio news outlet, WLWT.
A TriHealth spokesman did add that all the workers who skipped the vaccine can appeal to be reinstated after getting the shot. Whatever their motivation, be it simple laziness or a philosophical or religious opposition to getting the vaccine, the workers are facing an increasingly common workplace policy. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws requiring health workers to get the flu vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control. (In most jurisdictions, workers are allowed to seek an exemption, however, whether for religious or for medical reasons, such as an allergy.)