DENVER (CBS4)– The Colorado Board of Health on Wednesday approved a plan that would require workers in health care settings to receive flu shots.

The vote was 7-1. The plan would be phased in over a period of 3 years. It will eventually require 90 percent of health workers to get flu shots.

It was not so much a debate over the effectiveness of flu shots, but more about civil rights at the state Capitol. Before a standing-room only crowd Bonnie Guzman, a nurse at two Denver area hospitals, insisted vaccinations should be a matter of choice.

“Last year we were offered the vaccination or face termination. It was either the shot or the job,” Guzman said.

But others backed the plan for reasons of health.

“We know that immunizations are one of the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of diseases,” Erin Suelman with the Colorado Children’s Immunization Council said.

Those not vaccinated would be required to wear masks and the facilities must provide signed medical exemptions for those who don’t receive the vaccine.

“I see this as a violation of my civil liberty and religious expression, to have this forced upon me,” Guzman said.

The flu vaccination requirement has the backing of the association representing hospitals across the state.

“Our patients are most vulnerable. Exposure to flu from an employee would protect them from flu. We want to protect visitors who come to the hospital to see patients. The other issue is we want to make sure our employees are not infected from flu so they can’t work,” said Colorado Hospital Association President Steve Summer.

“We have to insure that health care workers are treated the same way you and I are, as individuals. They have the same rights you and I do on informed consent. They should have the right to say no,” said National Vaccine Information Center spokeswoman Theresa Wrangham.

Not all hospitals are in favor of the plan. Hospital volunteers are exempt from the rule.

Comments (24)
  1. Austin says:

    I heard from other runners that they are eineriepcxng lower performance up to 2 weeks after receiving a flu shot. We all seem to be reporting similar symptoms.I received the seasonal flu shot on Monday and went running on Tuesday morning. I started fine, but my muscles reached a state of exhaustion less than half way through my run, and I had to walk the rest of the way. Muscle fatigue, otherwise, has never been an issue for me.Is this a common side effect for runners? Can it take two weeks to get back to 100%?The concern I have is that I felt fine, but just hit the wall while running. For those of us who plan long trail runs on the weekends, this can be a devastating side effect leaving us unexpectedly zapped of energy miles from our car if not taken into account.

  2. stephanie, nurse midwife & nurse practitioner says:

    This is absolutely appalling on so many levels. However, i urge all Americans to read the latest study on flu vaccines in the Lancet this year. Never take as gospel studies that are funded by the pharmaceutical company that may i remind you can never be litigated against for an adverse reaction from a vaccine (yep its a law) This is total erosion of an individual’s constitutional rights and this should be appealed and litigated immediately. Mandatory flu shots this year and sterilization shots next year and whatever else the next political group believes is best for us. And may i also say that in an economy that is poor already, we should not be using employment ever as a means of coercion.

    1. karyn says:

      HELLO!!!!!!!!! Do you know how to say Biological War-Fare?????? Did you know that the vaccine is made in China? We all saw what China did to our pets two years ago and to their own people. Are you really willing to trust the government and deliberately inject this influenza virus in your body?????? Talk about wiping out a country of all ages on a WIDE scale. Viruses can lay dormant for periods of time and they mutate. Very dangerous, and the virus is the only predator of humans. I say let nature take its course without a flu shot, PERIOD!!!!!!

    2. Vittoria says:

      My five year old just had his yearly flu shot on Friday (as well as eeasrvl other vaccines at his 5 year well visit). We left the doc’s office around 10am and by 2pm he was complaining of a very sore throat. When I checked his temp a few hours later, he had one of about 100.5. I went into a panic knowing that kids are supposed to be healthy when they have their vaccinations. He didn’t complain of not feeling well at the doc appt. and when the doc did his well visit checkup, he didn’t mention anything not being right.I called the nurses line to ask if him not feeling well/temperature would hinder the efficacy of the vaccines he received that day. She said it was possible depending on the severity of his temperature. What are your views? I’m guessing that he was developing a cold but didn’t have any symptoms at the time of the shots. Do I need to worry that the shots aren’t going to do their job? I’m prone to worrying so any feedback would be helpful.P.S. His little sis had a temp the day before, so we rescheduled her flu shot for this week.VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait…

  3. Laurice says:

    When I served in the military I suffered a severe reaction to the flu shot which we were ordered to take (temperature of 104 for 2 days). I have never had a flu shot since and have never suffered from the flu since. As an OB provider having worked at 7 hospitals around the country over the past 30 years I believe our efforts would be better spent advocating good old fashioned hand washing and cleaning of hospital facilities and instruments. Then we could take a real crack at reducing the tens of thousands of people dying unnecessarily from the 8 deadly super viruses like MRSA.

  4. miranda says:

    Why not mandate better hygienic practices in hospitals since that’s the ONE thing that is PROVEN to halt the spread of flu but the more serious MR$A. Where’s that mandate?? And when workers show up with adverse rxns from the shot, how’s that more-serious-than-the-flu rxn serving their “GOOD.”

  5. Lisa says:

    You know, if the drug companies would work to make vaccines safe, this would not even be an issue. But I guess there is no money in that!

    1. Katia says:

      Hey Joel I didn’t know it was bring your kids to the pool day! (I know we are dorks) but how funny that was sort of a picture of tnhgis to come! And yes you and your sister make some pretty cute little kiddos!

  6. Andie says:

    Unacceptable. Any medical treatment should be decided by doctors and patients together (with the patient having the final say), not mandated by the government. That includes vaccinations, which have side effects and are not always in the best interest of an individual patient’s health. Vaccine mandates should be illegal since prescribing a specific treatment is essentially the government practicing medicine without a license.

    1. Susan Collier says:

      A MEN!!!!

  7. Janice LPT says:

    The flu shot only covers the man made virus H1N1, Swine and avian flu. Last year, it was manditory not only at my facility but Kaiser as well, and..other hospitals. For the first time, I had the flu shot, found out afterwards what it included. I got a reaction, as did some of my co-workers. My arm hurt so bad for months that I had and x-ray, PT, and saw an ortho specialist. Over a year later, it’s just now setteling down. The pain went from my deltoid to my neck, the trigger point to relieve my neck pain was in my deltoid! I refused the shot this year and told my employer I reported it to the CDC. Never again! This manditory flu shot is just a money maker for the pharmacutical companies.

  8. CATT says:

    Hmmmm Now, who really is the germy little hospital employee? The one who has not been innoculated with filth or the one who has been? Seriously, I would rather be attended by someone who’s body is clean of vaccines rather than someone who is rife with disease.

    1. Layla says:

      ‘Is there a point where public good tprums individual rights?’It does not appear this question is framed correctly for the situation. The issue here involves surrendering of rights as a condition of employment. If the employment ‘contract’ specifies rights reserved/surrendered and the contract was entered voluntarily and in good faith, then those rights have been ‘traded away.’This is different than, say, State-mandated flu shots under penalty of fine or jail-which is more directly associated w/ the question you pose.

  9. Delores Lake RN says:

    This is a violation of our rights. As A RN, I do know that the Doctors do not take flu shots, I have worked to many years close with them in the OR setting and hear them talk. So why should nurses be forced to take them and the hospital office and other employees, plus the Docs not be forced, or in some places we lose our jobe. We can always wear a mask. This is wrong. Even the Docs assistents who come with them dont always take flu shots. Making nurses do, This is WRONG. Whats next on the adjenda huh.

  10. Lancieuxsky says:

    We know that immunizations are one of the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of diseases,” Erin Suelman with the Colorado Children’s Immunization Council said.

    Flat out wrong! So much misinformation it really is appalling.

    1. Susan Collier says:

      There is NO scientific evidence to support Erin Suelman’s belief. I can show Erin evidence of many more serious adverse effects (including death) from vaccines than the diseases they supposedly prevent. Besides, a very high percentage of the people that develop Pertussis, Polio, & Measles have been fully vaccinated. Big PHARMA is ruling the world.

  11. Lexie Romeo says:

    This is a huge step back for America on the whole. Freedom continues to be eroded and disguised as concern for others. If you officials were so concerned about patients and their visitors, you would let your employees stay home to recover when sick and not take away their rights granted to them by the constitution. This is sick and tragic. Here’s hoping that people wisen up and elect Ron Paul so he can put an end to these violations and restore our constitutional liberties.

  12. Dhein says:

    I believe that everyone living under a communist government should be forced to have any vaccination the State requires. Forced sterilzation as the State deems for the general good should also be enforced. The rest of us should have the freedom to decide for ourselves. Oh, and please don’t forget the concept of “Pro Choice”; shouldn’t only apply to one’s uterus.

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  14. Ani says:

    I am never in favor of forced vaccination. I am in favor of lots of hand washing for healthcare workers.

    I have never had the flu, nor my mother who is 94. Never in my life would I ever get a flu shot, therefore could never be in favor of anyone else being FORCED to take a flu shot or any other vaccination.

  15. Anne Kemp says:

    A misguided effort by the state legislature and public health officials – there is siginificant research in the medical literature and systemtic reviews to demonstrate that flu shots are neither effective at preventing the flu nor reducing influenza mortality rates. The single most effective preventative measure in the healthcare setting for preventing the spread of influenza is handwashing, plain and simple. Its unfortunate that despite the overwhelming data in the medical community that policymakers are still being misled into passing worthless legislation – what’s disturbing is that the influence is coming from public health officials, who should know better.

    1. Jo says:

      vaccinated or not … The flu virus still spreads by individual contact … Viruses are everywhere! So,BEING VACINATED does not prevent you from spreading these virus!
      Every human being in this country should have the right to refuse medical treatment. They also have the right to informed consent explaining all adverse reactions! this is not done when you receive a vaccine! They give you side affects but does not explain the neurological damage that can be done which is very serious business and can be life changing. My advice DO NOT vaccinate.

      RN Westminster, MD

  16. Red says:

    I work in healthcare. I have never had a flu shot, I have never had the flu. I do not think I should be forced to take a flu shot.

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