50 employees fired after refusing flu shot

DULUTH, Minn. — A Minnesota hospital operator has fired about 50 employees for refusing to take the flu shot.

CNN reports that the mandatory flu shot policy started this year after a top hospital official learned that only 82 percent of employees got a flu shot in 2016.

“Purely voluntary or more education doesn’t get you those high levels of immunization compliance,” said Dr. Rajesh Prabhu, chief of patient quality for Essentia Health.

The only way employees can avoid taking the flu shot is if they have a medical or religious exemption that’s approved by the company.

Prabhu said this year, 99.5 percent of employees have gotten a flu shot.

But the new policy has some workers speaking out against the move.

“The flu shot isn’t a be all end all. It only has a certain efficacy,” said Steve Strand of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Two unions have filed unfair labor practices complaints against the hospital operator.