Flu Shots, Hazard Pay and Gyms

(WSVN) - Some people worry about the flu shot. Now, they are concerned about how that shot would affect their body if they got the coronavirus, but what if your boss says you have to get the shot? It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Wrapped in the coronavirus outbreak, it might seem a little early to talk about the fall flu season, but some people are preparing for it.

Melissa, worried about flu vaccine: “All of us, no matter what the position is, all of us will be required to get the vaccine.”

Melissa, as we will call her, asked us to hide her identity to avoid problems with her job. A job that is now requiring every employee to get a flu shot.

Melissa: “I’m not allergic to the vaccine. I have taken it before. It just didn’t work.”

Melissa said she is not a person who thinks vaccines are bad.

Melissa: “Which I’m not against vaccinations, you know. I’m all for it.”

But she added, in the past, not only did the vaccine not prevent her from getting the flu, it actually hurt her.

Melissa: “Two or three times I have taken that vaccine, and I have gotten very sick after.”

And now, after doing research, Melissa is worried what effect a flu shot would have if she later contracted the coronavirus.

Melissa: “With the coronavirus, we don’t know. It hasn’t been studied how the flu vaccine — how does it work to together with the coronavirus?”

Leaving her with a lot of concerns and a simple question.

Melissa: “My legal question is can my employer require or make it mandatory for me to take flu vaccination?”

You want to give it a shot, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “Yes, they can require the vaccine if you want to keep your job, but there are exceptions. If you have a severe medical condition where the flu shot could endanger you or if you have a deeply-held religious belief against medical treatment, you don’t have to take the shot, but your company can require you to wear a mask or keep you separated from other employees.”

And it brings up the next question. If a vaccine is created to prevent the coronavirus, can your job or school require you to take that shot before returning?

Howard Finkelstein: “Yes, even though the vaccine may not be fully tested, your company can require you to take the coronavirus vaccine. The only way to avoid it? The same exceptions with the flu shot would be in place.”

You have a contract with a gym. You don’t feel safe going there. Can you cancel it without having to pay a penalty?

Howard Finkelstein: “As long as the gym is open and following CDC guidelines, you are stuck with paying that contract.”

Hazard pay, we have heard from many people from nurses and first responders to grocery store workers asking if they are entitled to hazard pay because they are exposed to people with the coronavirus. Are they, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein: “No, you are not entitled to it. Congress could pass legislation to require it, but so far, they have not.”

The news about the requirements for the flu shots disappoint Melissa because while the vaccines make her sick, it’s not severe enough to exempt her from the shot.

Melissa: “No, I don’t think it’s fair. I think we should be able to decide for ourselves.”

If you think the flu shot is causing concerns, wait until a coronavirus vaccine is approved. It’s going to be interesting.

Now, if you have problems related to COVID-19 or just headaches that you can’t seem to solve, give us a call. We would love to help you out.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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