Indiana hospital fires eight workers who refused flu shot

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Eight Indiana hospital workers have lost their jobs after refusing to get their flu shots.

In the past, flu shots were optional at Indiana's Goshen Hospital. But now, the hospital's parent company says it the shots are mandatory.

Some workers tried to appeal on religious grounds, but a hospital spokeswoman says the appeals weren't covered by the Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines.

"If it were religious beliefs as defined by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, they would not have been terminated. Sometimes there can be a little bit of gray area and people who have very personally held beliefs will present those as religious opportunities for exemption," said Melanie McDonald, hospital spokesperson.

Out of the 26 people who applied for the religious flu shot exemption at Goshen Hospital, 11 were allowed to continue working without getting the shot.

McDonald says the new requirements came as a recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association and other major health agencies.

McDonald says the flu has the highest death rate of any vaccine-preventable disease. She says the hospital would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that patients with compromised immune systems are at a greater risk for illness and death from the flu.