Nurses, get the flu shot
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Chicago Tribune by Editorial Board
Public health experts urge most Americans to protect their health — and shield those around them — by getting a flu shot every year. That's particularly vital for people like nurses, who care for elderly and ill people.
That's why the Cook County Health and Hospitals System requires all of its workers to be vaccinated against the flu. There are patients to protect.
But some of the Cook County system's nurses seek a pass.
The union that represents most of the system's nurses, the National Nurses Organizing Committee, has appealed to the Illinois Labor Relations Board to stop Cook County health officials from forcing nurses to get a flu shot.
"We encourage everyone to get an annual flu shot," union official Marti Smith told us. "That said, we believe health care providers should be able to use their own judgment in determining whether or not the vaccine is appropriate for them."
But this is not just about them. This is about protecting the people around them. There are certain requirements of employment in every workforce, and this is a reasonable one for hospitals and clinics. Many private hospitals in the Chicago area and across the nation require employees to get a flu shot.
Most medical professionals know that going without a flu vaccine is risky for them and for their patients. Most Cook County health system employees apparently agree. Almost 9 in 10 have taken the shot, a county spokeswoman said. "Knowingly putting patients and coworkers at risk when we know that risk can be reduced by a safe, effective vaccine is irresponsible," the county said in a statement.
Plenty of people decline to get a flu shot each year. Some don't believe the vaccine works. Yes, the vaccine's effectiveness varies, depending on a person's age and overall health, and on how well it targets the flu viruses that dominate in any season.
Some fear the shot will make them sick. Serious reactions happen, though they're rare.
Some believe employers should not be able to force them to get a medical treatment, even one as mild as a flu shot. That's a reasonable argument in most workplaces but not in places that draw people whose health is already compromised.
The Cook County health system provides flu shots to employees for free.
We hope the ILRB leaves this decision to the health system.
And that every nurse gets the shot.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposes raising Forest Preserves budget next year with rainy day funds Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Chicago Tribune Delays leave suburban Cook voters wondering if their ballots will count Tuesday, October 20, 2020 Chicago Sun-Times Illinois orders tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings in several suburban counties as coronavirus positivity rates rise Tuesday, October 20, 2020 Chicago Tribune Why some Cook County voters are still waiting for mail-in ballots Tuesday, October 20, 2020 Daily Herald Editorial: Impact of COVID-19 emphasizes role of ACA in Cook County budgeting Tuesday, October 20, 2020 Daily Herald Cook County tosses ‘lifeline’ to needy residents, opening housing voucher waiting list for first time since 2001 Monday, October 19, 2020 Chicago Sun-Times 'COVID fatigue' blamed for second surge in coronavirus cases; Chicago health experts warn people not to let their guard down Monday, October 19, 2020 WLS ABC 7 Eyewitness News Coronavirus in Illinois updates: COVID-19 cases on the rise in long-term care facilities; applications open for relief fund for restaurant workers Monday, October 19, 2020 Chicago Tribune For first time in nearly 20 years, Cook County opens suburban housing voucher waitlist. At least 10K people already applied. Monday, October 19, 2020 Chicago Tribune Editorial: Preckwinkle balances the county’s COVID budget. Next up, Lightfoot. Monday, October 19, 2020 Chicago Tribune Gov. J.B. Pritzker blames President Trump and his allies for coronavirus spike in Illinois Sunday, October 18, 2020 Chicago Tribune County Board President Toni Preckwinkle outlines $6.9 billion budget plan: ‘This pandemic has dealt Cook County and its residents a catastrophic blow’ Friday, October 16, 2020 Chicago Tribune Preckwinkle touts restorative justice in budget that slashes court, jail funding: ‘We cannot police our way out’ Friday, October 16, 2020 The Daily Line ‘We Are In a New Wave of COVID-19’: Pritzker Friday, October 16, 2020 WTTW News Everything You Need To Know About Voting Drop Boxes In Illinois Friday, October 16, 2020 WBEZ News Pritzker Extends Ban on Evictions for 7th Month Friday, October 16, 2020 WTTW News Pritzker to extend eviction moratorium another 30 days: ‘Nothing really has changed’ Friday, October 16, 2020 Chicago Sun-Times Record-high Illinois COVID-19 caseload, hospitalizations and positive test rate rising: ‘We are in a new wave Friday, October 16, 2020 Chicago Sun-Times A Cook County budget built to ‘weather the storm’ — but the rain had better be moving on Thursday, October 15, 2020 Chicago Sun-Times
Layoffs, cutting vacant jobs all part of Preckwinkle’s $6.9 billion budget plan to ride out COVID-19 storm Thursday, October 15, 2020 Chicago Sun-Times
all news items