The Massachusetts Nurses Association sued Brigham and Women’s Hospital this week, seeking to block a policy not yet in effect that would require nurses to get flu shots if they want to keep working there.
The action in Suffolk Superior Court comes as state public health officials are leaning on hospitals to improve the influenza vaccination rate among health care workers, which varied in hospitals from 62 percent to 99 percent during the most recent flu season.
The Brigham instituted the mandate in hope of matching the success of other teaching hospitals in Boston, most of which vaccinate more than 90 percent of employees, she said.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association, the union representing 3,200 nurses at the Brigham, said in its lawsuit that the hospital’s mandate, which could lead to the firing of employees who refuse vaccination, violates a state regulation that explicitly bars hospitals from requiring employees to the receive vaccine if they don’t want it, regardless of the reason.
Most of the U.S. public is unaware that a U.S. citizen, by law, cannot sue a pharmaceutical company for damages resulting from vaccines. Congress gave them total legal immunity in 1986, and that law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011. There is a special “vaccine court” called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program that is funded through a tax on vaccines. If you are injured or killed by a vaccine, you must hire an attorney and fight tax-funded government attorneys to seek damages, as you cannot sue the drug manufacturers. It takes years to reach a settlement, with the longest case being settled after 11 years. Therefore, the reported cases probably only represents a tiny fraction of the actual number of people harmed or killed by vaccines, since it is so difficult to fight the government in court to win a settlement.