Besides comedy I have a day job. I work for a hospital. I am not a direct care giver but rather work behind the scenes. I don’t even work in the hospital I work two buildings away from the hospital itself. I could even work from home and do just about anything I need to do remotely. That’s how behind the scenes that I am. Every year all employees are asked to fill out a form as to whether or not they have gotten a flu shot. Every year I decline to fill out the form because I don’t think I should have to declare my healthcare choices to my employer. Never has a word been mentioned about the lack of form filing from me.
This year the forms were distributed and collected per usual. Again I declined to fill out the form. A few weeks after these forms were collected a broadcast email went out to the entire company stating that flu shots are now required for all employees. If you do not get a flu shot then you are required to wear a mask anytime you are within six feet of another employee. Since I work in a cubicle shanty town, you are pretty much always within 6 feet of another person. A day after the email came out forms were again distributed to all employees regardless of how they were filled out a few weeks before.
As you might imagine, this stirred up some controversy. It doesn’t even sound legal to have to pretty much declare publicly what your healthcare choices are particularly in an organization bound by HIPAA laws (Health Information Portability & Accountability Act) and apparently it is legal. Some people do not want to share their healthcare choices publically, some people do not want to get flu shots and no one wants to wear a mask all day. The company even offered free flu shots to any employee and will supply masks to those who do not get a flu shot. The company is just trying to increase “public health safety” as is the pharmaceutical industry which in 2009 sold $2.5 billion worth of vaccine between Swine Flu and seasonal flu vaccines alone.
So what to do. I know that this mandate made people who never get flu shots get a flu shot. Easy enough solution. For me the decision was easy too. I do not want to get a flu shot and although I don’t want to wear a mask, I want to keep my job. So mask it is and I am not alone. I see my masked compadres roaming the halls. For several others that didn’t want to get a flu shot, the decision was easy as well. Check off “got a flu shot elsewhere”. No flu shot, no mask, no dignity. Goal met? Perhaps next year they need a better plan.