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Mandatory Immunizations

Immunization Schedule

October 2013


Mandatory Flu Vaccination Talking Points




  1. Why is JMMC requiring all employees to get a flu vaccine?

  2. When does the policy go into effect?

  3. Is it legal to make the flu vaccination mandatory?

  4. What happens if I don't want to get the vaccine? Will I lose my job?

  5. What if I am allergic to the flu vaccine? Will I still be required to receive it?

  6. It is against my religion to receive a flu vaccination. Will I still be required to receive it?

  7. How will supervisors know who needs to wear a mask?

  8. I don't work with patients. Why should I be vaccinated?

  9. I'm very healthy and never get the flu. Why should I get the influenza vaccine?

  10. How effective are flu vaccines, especially since virus strains keep changing?

  11. Why can't I just wear a mask rather than getting the vaccine?

  12. When should I be vaccinated?

  13. If I get the seasonal flu vaccine in the fall, will I still be protected if the flu season continues into March or April?

  14. Is it safe for a pregnant woman to receive the flu vaccine?

  15. What if I get vaccinated on my own through my doctor's office or another location?

  16. Can the vaccine cause influenza?

  17. What is the nasal spray vaccine, and are there individuals who should not receive it?

  18. Will nasal spray be available at JMMC?

  19. What are the side effects from the flu vaccine?

  20. Will the seasonal flu vaccine protect me against the H1N1 flu as well?

  21. Will the flu vaccine make me feel ill?

  22. What professional associations support mandated influenza vaccination among Health Care Personnel?

  23. I am allergic to eggs. How much egg does the vaccine contain?

  24. Are there egg-free vaccines available?

  25. Can I get a mercury-free flu vaccine?

  26. What if I'm a vegetarian or vegan? Will this vaccine conform to my vegetarian/ vegan standards?

  27. What if a patient asks me why I'm wearing a mask?

  28. Could our patients become alarmed by employees wearing masks around them?

  29. Isn't it a HIPPA Privacy violation to require employees wear a validation badge indicating the employee received a flu shot?

  30. What if I see someone in my unit who is not vaccinated and is not wearing a mask?

  31. Can I get Guillain Barre Syndrome from the flu shot?


Why is JMMC requiring all employees to get a flu vaccine?


Each year, about 36,000 Americans die from the flu. These deaths can be significantly reduced. Requiring staff to receive an annual flu vaccine protects our patients, visitors, colleagues and families. Making the flu vaccine mandatory is a step that has already been taken by many health care systems and hospitals across the nation. In Connecticut, 19 hospitals have already introduced this mandatory policy.

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When does the policy go into effect?


By December 1, 2013, all Hospital physicians, clinical and administrative staffs, volunteers, vendors, contractors, students and temporary workers who serve on the premises of JMMC sites will be required to receive a flu vaccination

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Is it legal to make the flu vaccination mandatory?


Yes. It is legal to make the flu vaccine mandatory in Connecticut.

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What happens if I don't want to get the vaccine? Will I lose my job?


Any employed staff member who has not received a flu shot or an approved exemption by December 1, 2013, will be placed on a 30-day unpaid suspension, followed by possible termination if non-compliancy continues. Non-employed participants who fail to comply with the mandate or receive approved exemptions will be immediately restricted from access to JMMC sites effective December 2nd. While some may consider these measures severe, we are committed to introducing this important, life-saving measure for the safety and health of our patients, families and colleagues.

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What if I am allergic to the flu vaccine? Will I still be required to receive it?


No. Exemptions may be granted for those with allergies to the vaccine, following review and approval. Health care personnel requesting an exemption must provide documentation of medical contradictions to Occupational Health between September 1st and October 1st. A committee will review the request and make a determination about the exemption within five business days after a request is presented to Occupational Health. For those not vaccinated, a mask must be worn within 6 feet of patients during the specified flu season.

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It is against my religion to receive a flu vaccination. Will I still be required to receive it?


No, Exemptions will be granted for those whose religious convictions do not support the vaccine. A religious accommodation form must be completed and submitted to the Human Resources Department between September 1st and October 1st. The HR department and the VP of Mission Integration will review the request and make a determination regarding the exemption within five business days after a request is submitted. For those not vaccinated, a mask must be worn within 6 feet of patients during the specified flu season.

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How will supervisors know who needs to wear a mask?


Staff getting the 2013 influenza vaccine will receive a validation badge. Staff without the badge, who have an approved exemption, will be required to wear a mask during the flu season when they are within six feet of patients. In addition, supervisors will receive routine updates on which of their staff have/have not received the vaccine.

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I don't work with patients. Why should I be vaccinated?


The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the vaccine for all persons over the age of six months, especially healthcare workers. You might be exposed to the flu virus, even though you are not directly involved in patient care, and you could pass the virus to others who do come in direct contact with our patients.

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I'm very healthy and never get the flu. Why should I get the influenza vaccine?


Working in a healthcare environment increases your risk of getting the flu. You may become infected and experience only mild symptoms, but you can still pass the flu to patients, colleagues and members of your family.

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How effective are flu vaccines, especially since virus strains keep changing?


The vaccine is very effective in preventing the flu. If you get the flu from a strain of the virus that wasn't included in the vaccine, having the vaccine can still make your illness milder.

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Why can't I just wear a mask rather than getting the vaccine?


While wearing a mask helps to limit exposure to the influenza virus; the influenza vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza transmission.

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When should I be vaccinated?


For optimal protection against the flu, you should receive the vaccination before December 1st so your body can develop the proper immunity and be in compliance with the program. Although getting the vaccination after December 2nd is considered late for our program, it is never too late to get a flu shot.

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If I get the seasonal flu vaccine in the fall, will I still be protected if the flu season continues into March or April?


Yes. Protection from the particular strains included in the vaccine will last for the length of the flu season and sometimes longer.

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Is it safe for a pregnant woman to receive the flu vaccine?


Yes, pregnant women should receive the flu shot because they are more likely to have serious complications if they get the flu. After a flu shot is administered, the body will start producing antibodies that will help protect against the flu. This protection can be added to the unborn baby. According to CDC, you can receive the flu shot at any time, during any trimester, while pregnant. Please note that pregnant women should receive the injectable vaccine and not the nasal spray.

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What if I get vaccinated on my own through my doctor's office or another location?


If you get the vaccine elsewhere, you must provide physician- signed off, faculty verified documentation to Occupational Health before December 1, 2013.

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Can the vaccine cause influenza?


No. Neither the injectable nor the attenuated live nasal vaccine can cause influenza. You may have mild fever, chills or aches for a very brief period after the vaccination, but this is a sign your body is making antibodies against the flu-it is not the flu.

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What is the nasal spray vaccine, and are there individuals who should not receive it?


The flu vaccine can be given as a nasal spray. It is a living vaccine. Therefore, it is not
recommended for immune-suppressed patients; patients with chronic cardiovascular,
pulmonary or metabolic diseases; pregnant women; and household members with close contact with severely immunocompromised persons. Anyone choosing the nasal spray vaccine will also need to wear a mask for two weeks after receiving the vaccine when they are in the presence of any patients.

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Will nasal spray be available at JMMC?


Yes, upon request. If you wish to receive the nasal spray alternative, please make prior arrangements with Occupational Health.

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What are the side effects from the flu vaccine?


The most common side effects are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling to the area where the shot was administrated. Headache, muscle aches, fevers and nausea may also occur. The side effects usually occur soon after the shot and may last up to two days. Almost all people who receive the flu vaccine have no serious problems from it. Any employee who may believe he or she is experiencing any adverse effects related to the vaccination should report them to Occupational Health.

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Will the seasonal flu vaccine protect me against the H1N1 flu as well?


Yes. The vaccination offered is a trivalent form of the vaccine, and protects against season flu as well as H1N1.

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Will the flu vaccine make me feel ill?


After you get the vaccine, you may experience soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was administered, or low-grade fever and aches. The potential side effects may begin soon after the shot and usually last one to two days. The nasal spray vaccine given through the nose may cause a runny nose, headache, sore throat or cough.

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What professional associations support mandated influenza vaccination among Health Care Personnel?


  • American Academy of Family Physicians

  • American Academy of Pediatrics

  • American College of Physicians

  • American Hospital Association

  • American medical Directors Association

  • American Pharmacists Association

  • American Public Health Association

  • Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

  • Infectious Disease Society of America

  • Nation Business Group on Health

  • National Foundation for Infectious Disease

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I am allergic to eggs. How much egg does the vaccine contain?


The flu shot has trace amounts of egg protein in it. The amount of egg protein is so small that even some people with an egg allergy can receive the vaccine.

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Are there egg-free vaccines available?


Yes, egg-free vaccines are available at JMMC if needed.

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Can I get a mercury-free flu vaccine?


Yes, Thimersol-free single-dose vaccinations will be available for the majority of those requiring vaccination.

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What if I'm a vegetarian or vegan? Will this vaccine conform to my vegetarian/ vegan standards?


The Vegan Society recognizes that the vaccination is prepared using chicken eggs. As responsible vegans, difficult and sometimes contradictory choices have to be made that don't line up with a vegan lifestyle. In the absence of a vegan option, a flu vaccination is not considered a compromise in lifestyle of vegan beliefs.

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What if a patient asks me why I'm wearing a mask?


We expect our employees to be truthful with our patients if asked about our compliance requirement. An example of a response is: "I'm wearing a mask to prevent the spread of flu."

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Could our patients become alarmed by employees wearing masks around them?


This measure is intended to protect patients and employees from the infection, and our ongoing commitment to patient safety during the flu season.

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Isn't it a HIPPA Privacy violation to require employees wear a validation badge indicating the employee received a flu shot?


No, the required placement of the validation badge is in compliance with employment laws and regulations.

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What if I see someone in my unit who is not vaccinated and is not wearing a mask?


Please report any incident such as this to your supervisor.

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Can I get Guillain Barre Syndrome from the flu shot?


Data available from the CDC show a .001% association with vaccination and development of GBS syndrome.

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