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By Minyvonne Burke
A Missouri hospital defends its influenza policy after protesters gathered outside its facility to protest the reported firing of a nurse who refused to get vaccine.
Nelia Aubuchon, who organized the protest Tuesday outside Mercy Hospital South in St Louis, told St. Louis Post Dispatch that the unidentified nurse had to skip to get flu photos in the past when the plant was still St. Anthony’s Medical Center.
When Mercy Hospital acquired the hospital earlier this year, it took its policy that all employees would receive flu The only exceptions are for medical or religious reasons, but Aubuchon said the nurse allegedly ended Monday’s cited religion as a reason for her decision.
“This is the problem here, they declined the religious exemption,” said Aubuchon, telling St. Louis Post-Dispatch she is friends with the nurse who was fired.
A spokesman for the hospital refused to confirm whether a nurse had recently been terminated in order not to follow the policy but told NBC News in a statement that about 1
70 of its 44,000 employees had asked to be released from the flu displacement rule.
A majority of these requests were approved “to meet valid medical or religious exclusion criteria,” said spokesman.
“The employees whose exemptions were not approved will be announced this week and, according to our policy, may not be employed without vaccination,” said the spokesman.
The hospital said id has revised its influenza policy several years ago, requiring employees to be vaccinated to protect patients, visitors and other hospital staff.
“The point of our influenza vaccination policy is simple: protection against the influenza virus saves lives, especially those of our most vulnerable patients. Requiring healthcare professionals to be vaccinated against the flu is a best practice throughout the United States to ensure the safety of patients, employees and members of society, says the reading.