Five Questions About Healthcare Traveling and Immunizations

by Howard Gerber on October 22, 2015

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travel healthcare nursing immunizationIf you’re working as a healthcare traveler, you probably already have certain immunizations. Whether you work as a nurse, surgical tech, or physical therapist, your place of employment may have certain immunizations requirements. But beyond what is mandatory for your job, you may have the option of getting a particular vaccine or passing on the immunization. How do you know what you need and what you don’t? When it comes to working as a traveler and immunizations, consider some of the questions and answers below.

What are common immunizations recommended to healthcare worker?

There are several immunizations that are recommended for healthcare workers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exact requirements or recommendations may vary by place of employment and the type of position you have.

In most cases, medical facilities, such as hospitals recommend their employees get the following immunizations:

  • Hepatitis B
  • MMR
  • Tetanus
  • Flu

Do immunizations have side effects?

Any time you get a vaccine, side effects are a possibility. The specific side effects and the chance you’ll develop them depend on the vaccine you have administered.

Vaccines are thoroughly tested and in most cases, side effects are minor. Common vaccine side effects include redness and soreness at the injection site, headache, and a mild fever. Severe side effects are rare, but can include allergic reactions that can be serious.

Do all staff members need all immunizations?

Hospital policies vary on which employees are required to get which immunizations. The immunizations required may be based on what type of work you do. Certain jobs require more direct patient contact and may increase your risk of becoming infected with a disease. For instance, if you are a nurse, you may be at a higher risk of contracting an illness than if you are a speech therapist.

In addition to your position, it’s also important to consider your personal risk factors. If you have certain medical conditions, your doctor may advise you to get specific vaccines. For example, if you suffer from asthma, getting an annual flu vaccine may be advised.

Can an employer force employees to get immunizations?

The short answer is that, yes, employers can mandate employees get certain vaccinations. But it gets a bit complicated. There are different vaccine requirements in the workplace. There may be some vaccines that are required by state law. There may also be vaccines that are required by company policy.

Hospitals can mandate vaccines for employees, and it can be a condition of your employment. As a healthcare traveler, this means if you refuse to get a mandatory vaccine, you may not qualify for the position. But there are certain limitations to mandated immunizations.

Can you refuse an immunization?

As both a temporary and permanent employee, you can refuse a vaccine in some cases. Most states have laws that allow you to object to a vaccine on religious grounds. In addition, certain states also allow an employee to refuse a vaccine on philosophical grounds.

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