Six paramedics off work for refusing flu shot

Case illustrates need for better education: nurses’ association
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/08/2007

Should taking a drug or a vaccination be made a mandatory condition for coming to work? What about for front-line workers in health care? The issue re-emerged last month when a group of paramedics in the Kingston, Ont., area were sent home for not having a flu shot during an influenza outbreak.

Steve Hampton, a paramedic working in the counties of Leeds and Grenville, was among the group of 20 paramedics told at the end of January they couldn’t provide patient care when Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health declared it had an outbreak.

Of those, 14 returned to work after agreeing to take either the flu shot or the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, and six remained off work, said Terry Baker, president of Local 462 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).