Fired Over Flu Shot: Woman Shares Story

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AKRON, Ohio — Fired over the flu.  A worker at a local hospital loses her job because she refused to get a flu shot.

Jean Mastin has worked in hospitals now run by Summa Health Systems for the past 19 years. The last four, she has worked in the billing department at Akron City Hospital.

“On the 28th of December, they finally told me, ‘well yeah, you’ll be terminated, you knew that all along,'” Mastin said.

According to a letter from the hospital, Jean was fired for willfully disregarding one of their rules … for not getting a flu shot.

“I decided I didn’t want to do it and last year, we had the option of wearing a mask and so I did,” she said.

Mastin says this year, wearing a mask around the office was not an option.  She says she refused to take the shot because of her uncertainty about the vaccination’s side effects.

“I have not been ill for a long time and I always feel like if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, and you’re putting stuff in your body, you’re taxing it and so and they’re guessing what the flu is from last year and if they’re wrong, your body’s busy fighting last year’s flu,” Mastin said.

Summa would not speak specifically about Jean’s case, but they did send Fox 8 News a statement about their flu shot policy, which reads:

“For the safety of our patients, guests and employees, we have rules in place regarding mandatory annual flu shots.  I can confirm that we have terminated 26 employees (11 full-time and part-time and 15 PRN) across our owned entities for failure to comply with our policy requiring all medically able employees to receive a flu shot.  Any employee providing medical documentation of a potential adverse medical condition is exempt.”

“I make a point of keeping myself healthy, I’ve been eating well, there’s all kind of stuff we do … vitamin D and hand washing has been shown to be as effective as a flu shot,” said Mastin.

Mastin says she had an office to herself and rarely came into contact with patients, but that didn’t matter.

“Now that I’ve been off work for two weeks, I’m looking, double guessing if this was the right decision,” she said.

Mastin says it does upset her that her record now states that she should not be re-hired.

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