FOND DU LAC - An area lawmaker has written a bill which would prevent employers from forcing workers to get flu shots. State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) told FOX 11 it should be individual choice.
But some have responded saying certain jobs need to require a shot.
Thiesfeldt told us his new bill is aimed at the health care industry. He said some workers have lost their jobs because they do not want to be forced to get the flu vaccine.
"We're losing good, solid, experienced health care employees," explained Thiesfeldt
But Dan Collins, director of quality for Appleton-based ThedaCare health system, told us the bill sends the wrong message.
"I think it does send the wrong message to people that this isn't important and it really, really is important to get the influenza vaccine," said Collins.
ThedaCare does not require employees to get the flu vaccine, but Collins explained that 90 percent do and the 10 percent that don't have to wear masks during flu season. He said the vaccine keeps patients safe.
"That are immunocompromised so they're at risk for becoming gravely ill if they do catch the influenza virus while in our care," said Collins.
But Thiesfeldt said the flu vaccine has a 30 to 50 percent fail rate and comes with risks.
"There are proven deaths that have come from the flu vaccine, in addition to that people are sickened by it each year," said Thiesfeldt.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine is usually 60 percent effective and the flu itself kills many more people than the vaccine.
"Fifty percent effective is still better than nothing and more often than not it's 60 percent to 70 percent effective,' said State Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton), who told us she will not support the bill.
Thiesfeldt told us in the end the bill is about allowing people autonomy over their health.
"Imagine the threat of losing your job, your livelihood because you don't want to have what you feels is an ineffective vaccine put into your body," said Thiesfeldt.
The state already allows exemptions for people who are allergic to the vaccine and those who certify a religious objection.
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