Duluth-based Essentia Health has fired about 50 employees who refused to get flu shots mandated by company policy, which officials say will help protect patients from infection. Minnesota Nurses Association spokesman Rick Fuentes responds other ways, such as proper hand-washing and protective equipment, work better than the flu shot and don’t lull health workers into thinking they’re immune from spreading sickness. Fuentes says, “You know how the flu shot works…. They guess, basically during the summer, okay, this is the strain of the flu that we think is going to come up.”
Fuentes says the nurses union will file formal grievances over the firings. Essentia officials are not commenting on that, but say over 99 percent of their employees have received flu shots or made exemption requests which are still pending.