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Ontario nurses balk at receiving mandatory flu shots

Written by: Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief
Dec. 7, 2012

(File Photo)


TORONTO — The Ontario Nurses' Association is pushing back against mandatory influenza vaccinations for registered nurses.

In a letter to the Canadian Nurses Association this week, ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud demands the organization retract its Nov. 29 position statement that all registered nurses get the flu shot unless they have a condition that would exempt them, such as an allergy.

"We are informing you of the case law in Ontario where the arbitrator ruled that to mandate staff to receive an influenza vaccination is akin to an assault if the worker does not willingly consent to the vaccination or does so under the threat of suspension," the letter says. "It is simply unacceptable for the CNA to adopt a position that has been found to be akin to an assault on health care workers."

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CNA advocates that all nurses receive the annual shot to protect themselves, their families and those in their care.

"Further, we believe it is up to employers to decide whether to introduce policies that would make immunization a requirement," CNA says in its position statement.

ONA's response says the latest research questions the efficacy of vaccines across influenza seasons.

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