Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 28, 2012

99 percent of Munson workers opt for flu shot


— TRAVERSE CITY— Get a flu shot or get fired.

Last year’s policy at Munson Medical Center has been effective, with 99 percent of its roughly 4,500 employees this year opting for a flu shot.

A total of 18 Munson employees were exempted due to a proven, severe allergy to eggs. Another 25 employees filed an objection based on religious reasons, said Jeff Rose, director of employment services.

Those with religious objections must provide a written note from clergy or submit a statement of individual beliefs, Rose said.

This year the hospital toughened its policy on egg allergy exemptions based on guidance from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee, Rose said.

Employees claiming an egg allergy must provide documented evidence of an anaphylactic reaction or agree to be tested by one of Munson’s contracted allergy specialists.

Those claiming exemption must wear a surgical mask when they’re in the hospital except for break times and meal times during flu season — from fall to late spring.

“We have this policy to support our patients and it’s all really for our patients and their safety,” Rose said.

No one has been fired for refusing a shot, but one or two people are electing to retire early instead of receiving the vaccine, he said.

Prior to the mandate that began last flu season, 67 percent of Munson employees were vaccinated.

“We are very pleased we have well over 99 percent vaccinated and 100 percent compliance,” Rose said.