The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is giving union members an additional excuse for opting out of its mandatory flu shot program. Two labor unions representing some of the hospitals’ staff were seeking court injunctions to block the mandatory program which allowed staff only religious or medical options for avoiding disciplinary action. Hospital spokesman, Tom Moore, says the new option involves on those in the union.
He says union members can now opt out of the shots for “personal” reasons, but the mandatory shots for everyone else will begin September 25th. Union president Cathy Glasson says the union has dropped its request for a court injunction to allow the flu shot program to move forward. Glasson says the union is still pursuing a labor grievance for the three-thousand people it represents — contending that the hospital is violating the union contract by requiring flu shots when such action isn’t mandated by state and federal health agencies.
All three state universities have plans to offer flu shots to students. The University of Iowa student health center hopes to make shots available to students on Friday. In Cedar Falls, the University of Northern Iowa began offering the first in a series of free flu shot clinics for students. U.N.I. will deliver up to two-thousand flu shots on a first-come first-served basis. U.N.I. sophomore Aldiana Omanivoch of Waterloo is one who won’t be standing in line for a shot.
Omanivoch says, “I’m not getting the flu shot because I’ve never gotten one and my parents have never deemed it important to get one. so I’ve never gotten one in the past. And I’m really not worried about the H-1-N-1 either, so I won’t be getting that shot either. I just think I’m untouchable.” Student Nicol Pullen of Waterloo says the decision to get a shot was a no-brainer.
“There is a reason to get it, the flu does come around every year, as far as the H-1-N-1 I’d like to get one but I hear they’re going to be in short supply,” Pullen says, “so I don’t think I’m like at risk, I’m not pregnant, I’m no imuno-suppressed, I’m, you know, not sickly, but if there’s one available I’ll definately take advantage of it.” Iowa State University has been offering the flu shots to students since September 8th and will stop next Monday. I.S.U. charges $20 for the shot, and $25 for the nasal mist. The University of Iowa will charge its students the same cost as I.S.U.