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By Minyvonne Burke
A Missouri hospital defends its flu vaccination policy after protesters gathered in front of its facility to protest against the alleged dismissal of a nurse who refused to be vaccinated.
Nelia Aubuchon, who staged the demonstration Tuesday at Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis, told St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the unidentified nurse had been allowed not to be vaccinated in the past, so that the facility was still at St. Anthony's Medical. Center.
When Mercy Hospital acquired the hospital earlier this year, it adopted its policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated against the flu. The only exceptions are for medical or religious reasons, but according to Ms. Aubuchon, the nurse who would have been fired on Monday invoked religion to motivate her decision.
"That's the problem here, they declined the religious exemption," said Aubuchon, explaining to the St. Louis post-expedition that she is friends with the licensed nurse.
A hospital spokesman declined to confirm whether a nurse had recently been fired for failing to comply with the policy, but told NBC News that nearly 170 out of 44,000 employees had applied to be exempted from the policy. rule of influenza vaccine.
A majority of these requests were accepted "to meet valid medical or religious exemption criteria," the spokesman said.
"Colleagues whose waiver requests have not been accepted will be notified this week and, in accordance with our policy, will not be allowed to remain employed without vaccination," said the spokesman.
The hospital said it revised its influenza vaccination policy several years ago and demanded that employees be vaccinated to protect patients, visitors and other hospital staff.
"The value of our influenza vaccination policy is simple: protecting against the flu virus saves lives, especially those of our most vulnerable patients, requiring health colleagues to be vaccinated against influenza. a best practice across the United States to ensure the safety of patients, colleagues and community members, "reads the statement.