Note: Below is a question and answer (excerpted) from The Washington Post. I felt a bit like Charlie Brown look at Lucy holding the football when I started to read the piece sent to me by Judy R.
Karla L. Miller
Feb. 12, 2020 at 2:54 p.m. EST
My employer requires a flu shot. My doctors say no.
Reader: I work for a large health-care organization in a rural area. I do not work in direct patient care, but manage a health-information department in a building off-site.
In 2015 I had a significant reaction to a mandatory influenza vaccine and was ill for two months. My primary care provider, an orthopedic joint specialist, and a rheumatologist all recommended I no longer receive an influenza vaccine. My employer exempted me from getting the vaccine for three years, no questions asked. I just had to wear a mask while working.
Last year, my employer said I had to see their in-house allergy and immunology specialist, who denied me the exemption. I saw another allergy and immunology specialist in a large metropolitan city, who said I definitely should not get the influenza vaccine, ever. At that point my choices were to risk getting the influenza vaccine, or resign my job of 30 years. The specialist I saw in the city is also an attorney, and he thought what they were doing was illegal. What is your take on this? I feel the risks outweigh any benefits given the low efficacy rates of the influenza vaccine.
The ADA doesn’t prevent an employer from requiring employees to see a medical provider of its choice, but as Epstein Gluck notes, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cautions against the employer relying solely on that medical provider’s opinion when it’s contradicted by the employee’s health-care provider.
Considering your history and your doctor’s support, your employer should be willing to consider flu-prevention options besides submitting or quitting. If not, you might want to consult one more specialist: an employment attorney.
Read Miller's full response at WaPo here.