Debate over flu shot mandate for health care workers

hearing on bill that would allow workers to chose for themselves

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by Michele McCormack

FOND DU LAC-After languishing in committee for several months, Republican Jeremy Thiesfeldt's bill banning a flu shot mandate for health care workers finally got a hearing Wednesday.

Thiesfeldt said he has heard from multiple constituents who are health care workers that they were told get a flu shot or risk losing their job.

A group called "Wisconsin Against the Flu Shot" has also formed because of the pressure among workers to get the vaccine.

Group spokesperson Megan Kerkhoff says she has met  many in the medical profession who question the effectiveness of the vaccine and worry about side effects possibly related to additives in the vaccine.

"I can only hope that they'll realize this comes down to basic freedoms," Kerkhoff told CBS 58 News. 

"People shouldn't have to worry about losing their job because they don't want to take a drug."

But a leading local expert, Dr. Margaret Hennessy of Wheaton Fraciscan says science is not on their side.

"There's a lot of research out there that supports that health care workers l can make their patients sick if they're not protected." Dr. Hennessy said. "Also patients who are served by health care workers who are vaccinated are more likely to do better."

A decision on if the bill will come up for a vote is not expected until after the holidays.
 

 

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