Hospital workers fired after refusing flu vaccine

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Area Medical Center plans to terminate two employees for refusing to take a seasonal flu vaccine, the Charleston Daily Mail reported Jan. 13.

The hospital implemented a new policy over the summer requiring all employees to receive the vaccines, either by injection or nasal mist form. Workers were given until Jan. 8 to be vaccinated.

"CAMC had hoped that it wouldn't lose anyone by instituting this new policy," hospital spokesman Dale Witte said Jan.12 in a written statement. "CAMC requires several vaccinations for employees to work at CAMC, and this is just another of those requirements to work at CAMC."

Some employees were allowed exemptions from the policy because of allergies and other conditions, but Witte said he is unsure how many employees received exemptions.

All exempted employees had to undergo evaluations to prove they had extenuating medical conditions, he has said.

The two employees, whom Witte did not name, will be taken off work schedules immediately. If they receive vaccinations soon, they will be allowed to return to work. Otherwise, the terminations will be permanent, he said.

"They will not be scheduled until they are either vaccinated at our clinic or bring in documentation that they were vaccinated," he said.

He was not sure which department the two employees worked in, but said he believes they were nurses.

"You could say they worked in a clinical role. I'm sure they were on that side of the business," he said.

The policy mandated only seasonal flu vaccines. Workers are not required to get the H1N1 shot.

CAMC employs more than 6,000 people.