Citing religion, some health workers refuse flu shots

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karen higgins

Karen Higgins, a nurse at Boston Medical Center, had a severe allergic reaction to a flu shot. RNS photo courtesy National Nurses United.

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(RNS) During one of the worst flu season in recent memory, some health care workers are refusing to take flu shots for religious reasons. By Janice Lloyd / USA Today.

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  • al777

    “The CDC says one to two people in a million suffer a severe reaction.” I wish the CDC could give us numbers this specific on the occurrence of the flu. Really on one or two people in a million…strange that is the same statistic for Guillain-Barre Syndrome. I assume all the time i have seen people swell up, vomit, immediate increased fever, etc. had no reaction or “severe” reaction after being vaccinated.

  • Rebecca

    If you are in the healthcare industry, you are paid to support health. If you are a danger to patients, and because of religious or philosophical objections you will not submit for vaccinations (which support your own health, as well as the other patients) then you shouldn’t be in healthcare. Choose a different profession.

  • H. (Bart) Vincelette

    I’ve worked in virtually every area of healthcare, over the past 37 years. If one has the influenza virus, they shouldn’t be working with people who are in hospital & usually more susceptible to any pathogens. To use religious reasons to refuse the flu shot defies logic.

  • aldewacs

    There ya go: ‘religious’ and ‘logic’ in the same sentence. Never thought I’d see that.

  • Carroll Biebel

    In common speech, ‘vaccination’ and ‘immunization’ have a similar meaning. This distinguishes it from inoculation, which uses unweakened live pathogens, although in common usage either is used to refer to an immunization. -`:-

  • Chenna


  • I work in food service at waukeshe memorial hospital it is mandatory to take flu shot I don’t want it, I have not been sick for years boss said you better look up a religion not to have it so I’m trying to figure it out geez everyone who got it last year got sick grrrr I don’t want to loose my gob but don’t want injection I don’t know what’s n me

  • Rose Smith

    Don’t wanna loose job but don’t want shot

  • Samantha

    i disagree with you. I turned down a job that paid 3.00 more an hour than what i am getting paid now because they said a flu shot was mandatory. People react differently to this vaccine and most end up getting the flu when they do get the shot. A healthy diet and some exercise will prevent the flu. Keeping a healthy immune system keeps the flu away. I have never once had a flu shot and i have never once had the flu. Explain that. Im promoting health in a NATURAL way. not injecting myself with a virus that may or may not prevent the flu. Most people are just too damn lazy to eat right and exercise so the flu shot is just the easy way out. There are other choices. I should not be turned away from a job because i refuse to take a flu shot because i see it unsafe.

  • Samantha

    also, i wanted to add, the people who i take care of are offered the flu shot. if they refuse the vaccination they know the risks they are taking as do i. if every person in the building does not have to get the flu shot then why should i be made to get it? They are just as prone as passing it on as i am. Its no different than being around the general public. Not everyone gets the flu shot. Basically, if your susceptible to it, your going to get it. I work in healthcare yes. but the families that are in and out of hospitals can still pass it to someone, along with patients who refuse. so it makes no since that i would have to get the flu shot when there are other ways to contracting the infection. id like a GOOD reason i should get the flu shot just because i work in healthcare.


    I beg to differ, only because you don’t know exactly whats being put into the vaccinations, but I do there are high levels of mercury in vaccinations that you can recieve in one vaccine, and that high level of mercury in the vaccine is totaled to the amount taken in over a years time. Plus at my job co-workers recieved the vaccine for flu and then because sick within weeks of the shot…I didn’t take the vaccine and never got sick. Another reason why the mandatory flu vaccine is stupid because it doesn’t cover all strains. eat healthy, exercise, and pray. When religion was taken out of government, but still “IN GOD WE TRUST is used” things began to get worse in the US. now at my hspital this coming August we won’t be able to use a religious reason to opt out of a flu vaccination. Why? so now employees religious rights are being taken away from them coming soon. Where will this take us in 5 years…..I know “ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT and adhering to “their” religion…whatever that may be .
    1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

  • l

    Noone should be forced to do anything that they don’t ethically, morally or religiously agreed with – its disgusting that anyone could think this is ok!

  • Lori

    I agree with you Samantha. I recently found out that Lee Memorial Health Systems is making the flu vaccine mandatory. WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD?
    I never had the flu vaccine; didn’t believe in it when it was a live virus. Then once it went to synthetic, I did get one and got extremely sick for the first time; haven’t had one since and am not planning on getting one. I will find some excuse to get out of getting one. This hospital has a form for either medical or religious reasons. This form has to be sent in an approved. AGAIN, WHAT HAVE WE TURNED INTO?

  • Michelle

    I agree COMPLETELY.

  • Elizabeth Hinton

    I agree. I would not dare to let a doctor or nurse take care of my child or loved one that refuses to be vaccinated. That is a contradiction to “and do no harm” if you are sick and make my loved one sick and you refused to be vaccinated you purposely caused harm to my loved one.

  • Elizabeth Hinton

    The shot does not make you get sick it is inactivated if you are already sick you will get sick that is it. Just think about this scenario: you fix the food you have the flu but don’t know it you contaminate the food a child gets it and has a weakened immune system and die. Do you really want to fight against the flu shot? (and yes this did happen in a hospital).

  • Elizabeth Hinton

    Do you drink sodas, eat food from the grocery store, eat canned vegetables, smoke, drink alcohol if that is the case then you have defiled the temple already. There are flu vaccinations that do not contain thimerisol which is the mercury preservative that is used in minute amounts in some flu vaccinations but not all. So again I say get vaccinated. I am a preacher and believe in prayer but I also know that God gave the doctors the intelligence and knowledge to create steps to take care of the human body”how blessed you are to have never gotten sick” but don’t try to tell people it is in the bible not to take vaccinations because it isn’t, this is a personal choice and that is it so make it stand by it but don’t try to put God in it when there are so many more things to pray about.

  • AJ RO

    The flu shot is very ineffective in general, and is simply a “guess” as to which strain will be faced each year. 2014’s vaccine has been shown to be even MORE ineffective than average.

    To the people that said that the healthcare workers that refuse the vaccine are creating a “risk”: stop kidding yourself. There are MUCH greater risks. Like the immoral nurses that abuse alcohol and other drugs and make medical errors while on the job.

  • Vane

    Hi Lori, I’m currently employed through lmhs and I’m not happy with being forced to get the shot or lose my job. I’ve never had a flu shot and I’ve been in healthcare for over 10 years. I think it should be our choice. The position I’m currently working in has no direct patient contact.

  • Anisa m

    What about in hospitals where its mandatory, does it matter if you have any religious or medical reason to refuse the flu shot?