At least 21 New York hospitals and other healthcare facilities are looking to “dispose” of as many as 15,000 employees who have refused to get their influenza shots.
Jemal R. Green, president of the New York Healthcare Association, which represents the hospital providers, told the New York Times that the company’s board members are reviewing a wide range of options, including firing potentially hundreds of employees.
“Our hospitals and insurance companies are concerned for the long-term and financial viability of New York’s medical care system,” Mr. Green said. “If we can’t protect the integrity of the health care system and the patients, why should we continue to provide this service?”
The Times wrote that this latest development comes a year after the hospital industry’s anti-vaccine crusade crashed into a wall of public discontent. The “neighborhood letter to the editor” following a Post profile of two Kaiser Permanente executives seeking to sell the controversial vaccine suddenly became one of the most-read stories of the year.
The fallout from that article has lasted to this day. Kaiser cut ties with NBC News earlier this year following a feature that featured a measles-mumps-rubella expert breaking ranks with his colleagues and saying he was no longer sure that the vaccine is safe. “We should do a really good, honest, apples-to-apples reassessment of whether we as a country, whether we as a government are doing the right thing by our children,” he said.
The vaccines are controversial among the patient population, with many parents arguing that shots are harmful and life-threatening. Others believe that immunization is a means of suppressing the natural immunity of children, in which carriers may appear to be born with vaccine-inhibited immunity.
Mr. Green, however, told the Times that the elimination of those 14,000 workers “is not about protecting an ill child or a child who is ‘unvaccinated.’ It’s about protecting the future of medical care in the state of New York and providing the best care for all patients and employees.”