Thursday, December 19, 2013

No Flu Shot For Me . . .

I recently made a decision that has caused much controversy.  I decided that I would not be immunized against influenza even though I am working in the Health Care Industry.  This decision was not one that I made lightly, withouth much research (on my own and by my husband), council (even from my doctors) and most importantly, prayer. 

There are always 2 sides to every story, and people become very passionate about what ever "side" they are on.  I do not desire to cause division.  Whatever side you are "on" is  your personal choice.  If you choose not to be immunized (or not to have your children immunized), I urge you to research the matter carefully and make an informed decision based on your personal religious and moral convictions.  If you choose to be immunized (or to have your children immunized), I urge you to research the matter carefully and make an informed decision based on your personal religious and moral convictions. Either way, please don't go into it "blindly" or just because it's what everyone is doing.  

That is what I did.  I HAVE been immunized in the past.  My children have received immunizations.  Most of my grandchildren have not been immunized or have received minimal immunizations.  

My choice NOT to be immunized is not a judgement on you if you have chosen differently.  There are many circumstances surrounding the loss of my job that go deeper than just not being immunized.  Inconsistencies in policy and procedures and the notifying employees of said policies would top that list.  I am not fighting this "battle" because of those inconsistincies though.  I am convinced that, for me, receiving the immuniztion is not the right thing to do.  In the exemption request that I provided to my employer, I stated that, "As a Christian I believe I am to treat my body with respect as it is a gift from God (2 Corinthians 7:1 "Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." and 2 Corinthians 6:19 & 20 "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.").  I also stated that, "My husband has also voiced his concern over tha adminsitration of the vaccine, and has stated that he wishes me to abstain from receiving it.  I desire to comply with my husband's wishes as the head of our household (Ephesians 5:35 "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.").  I continued with "We have also elected, after much research not to vaccinate our children in regards to the flu shot, boosters or Gardasil. I believe that destroying life and knowingly injecting myself/my family with toxins is a contradiction to my beliefs and unacceptable.  Health is of great importance to me and something that I do not take lightly.  I choose to maintain my health by eating foods that contributte to wellness, not partaking in alcoholic beverages, smoking or any type of recreational drugs."

In addition to the aforementioned religious reasons for my expemption request, I had a letter from my doctor, Doctor Patrick Flynn of The Wellness Way in Green Bay.  In his letter, he stated, "This is a formal statement allowing Sheila Reed a medical exemption from receiving the flu shot.  Her Thyroglubulin Antibodies came back at an extremely elevated level of 1332.9 and Thyroglobulin Peroxidase antibodies are at a level of 929.0.  Given the autoimmune nature of her thyroid disease we cannot advise any extra stimulation of her immune system." ("normal" levels should be 5 - 25).

Following a report on NBC26 regarding my situation (you can watch it here:, I read the following comment on a friend's Facebook page (the friend had linked to the TV 26 story and stated that she too had opted not to get the shot this year).

Someone (whom I don't know and has NO IDEA of the details or background on my story) commented on Facebook: "She works in public health care. Period. Was it disclosed as a requirement when she took the position? If so, she had the option to not accept it. To have privileges in hospitals, my former bosses had to have TB tests and required vaccinations."

My response to her was: "I'd like to address your question regarding the flu shot. When I took the job, we were offered the flu shot, but given the option to decline it and wear a mask during flu season. So, no, the requirement was NOT disclosed when I took the job in 2012. In fact when the flu shot clinics were held this fall, in October, that was still the option given to us. I completed my declination as per policy. On December 5, I received an e-mail stating that flu season was upon us and all unvaccinated employees were to begin wearing a mask when in patient areas. On December 6 (less than 24 hours later), I was informed that the contract that was ratified on 12/2 stated that immunizations were now a condition of employment, UNLESS an employee provided the hospital with a religious or medical exemption. When I approached my Union on this change in wordage in our contract, they stated that they were led to believe that employees were still going to be allowed to "opt out" and they were sorry that they were unclear on that provision. Following that, I followed the "new" policy and I provided both a religious as well as a medical exemption request. I stated my Biblical reasons for not desiring to inject my body with potentially fatal chemicals as well as providing them with documentation from my PHYSICIAN stating the medical reasons related to my autoimmune disorder that I should not be immunized. Both aspects of the exemption request were denied with no reason given. During that time, I followed policy and wore a mask at all times I had patient contact. I even continued to work my scheduled shifts AFTER receiving notice that I was going to be terminated (I received notice on 12/13 but am not being terminated until 12/20 @ 3:00 p.m.) Again, remember, both aspects of the exemption request were denied with no reason given, but I was given "every possible chance to be immunized before being terminated" even though I assured them that I would NOT be changing my mind. Unfortunately in a news "blurb" that is less than 2 minutes in length, it is very difficult to obtain all the information and background that is involved. I respect authority and policy, but I don't like being "bullied" by policy makers who refuse to take the whole picture into consideration before they take action. It will be with sadness that I leave a job that I truly love, but I also believe that God gave me one body and one life and it should be my choice, with His guidance, as to how I take care of it!

So, there you have it, my "side" of the story.  I totally respect the position my employer has taken on protecting patients, I am just not happy with the way it all happened and the inconsistencies that presented themselves throughout the process.  

I know that God is in control and He is in my tomorrow, so I need not fear what that day holds! :)