Partners mandates flu shots for all 74K employees

Boston-based Partners HealthCare is requiring all 74,000 employees to receive flu shots for the first time, reports The Boston Globe.

Under the mandatory flu shot policy, employees who don't get vaccinated or provide a valid reason for skipping the flu shot could lose their jobs. The policy applies to all hospital-based workers, as well as thousands of employees who work at Partners' corporate office in Somerville, Mass.  

"If you are able and remain unwilling to protect yourself and protect our patients [from the flu], you probably should not be working in healthcare," Gregg S. Meyer, MD, Partners' chief clinical officer, told The Boston Globe. "My sincere hope is that absolutely no one will lose their job over it. … We will do everything we can to convince people."

The policy took effect this fall. So far, 99 percent of employees have received a flu shot or an exemption for religious or medical reasons, Partners officials told The Boston Globe.

Partners modeled the systemwide policy on a mandatory vaccination policy Boston-based Brigham and Women's implemented in 2017. The Massachusetts Nurses Association sued the hospital in an attempt to block the policy, but was unsuccessful. Brigham and Women's reported a 98 percent flu vaccination rate last year and terminated five employees for not getting a flu shot, Brigham spokesperson Lori Schroth told The Boston Globe.

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