Saturday, January 12, 2013

Flu Epidemic


Flu Epidemic: Hospitals Crack Down On Workers Who Refuse Shots
CHICAGO — Patients can refuse a flu shot. Should doctors and nurses have that right, too? That is the thorny question surfacing as U.S. hospitals increasingly crack down on employees who won't get flu shots, with some workers losing theirjobs over their refusal.

"Where does it say that I am no longer a patient if I'm a nurse," wondered Carrie Calhoun, a longtime critical care nurse in suburban Chicago who was fired last month after she refused a flu shot.

Hospitals' get-tougher measures coincide with an earlier-than-usual flu season hitting harder than in recent mild seasons. Flu is widespread in most states, and at least 20 children have died.

Most doctors and nurses do get flu shots. But in the past two months, at least 15 nurses and other hospital staffers in fourstates have been fired for refusing, and several others have resigned, according to affected workers, hospital authorities and published reports.


Flu Epidemic: Officials, Drug Stores Say Call Ahead Before Getting Vaccine

The heightened demand for the flu vaccine has caused some providers to run out of doses, however officials said there are still plenty to go around and are encouraging people to call ahead before driving to a local clinic to get immunized.

National drug store chain Rite Aid is moving some of its supplies around to make sure each of their locations remain stocked, spokeswoman Ashley Flower said.

"In select areas, just like everybody else, we are experiencing a reduced amount of shots," Flower told ABC News Radio. "We would certainly advise our customers to call their local Rite Aid before coming in to see what the status of the vaccine is at their location."


Flu Widespread

Flu widespread in 47 of 50 United States, but eases off in some areasThe flu is rapidly spreading across the nation, widespread in all but three states: California, Mississippi and Hawaii. But there's a tiny bit of good news — it's backing off a bit. It may have already peaked in some parts, like the Southern states.

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