If you work at a hospital, you may be told, not asked, to get a seasonal flu vaccination soon.

As the flu shot season gets an early start this year, the Associated Press is reporting that Loyola University Medical Center has adopted a new policy requiring its employees and students to get vaccinations for seasonal flu.

Vaccination will be a condition of employment. To decline, workers must have allergies to flu vaccines or can decline on religious grounds, but they must provide proof.

Loyola is a one of a handful of hospitals nationwide with such a mandatory policy, according to AP, but because of its size and prestige, I expect more hospitals will follow.

Taking it another step, it's a good idea that other agencies that deal with the public daily may want to follow. City and county government workers, for example, should get flu shots. What about store clerks?

It's a policy many businesses may want to consider.

And this doesn't address the new vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu virus, although Loyola's new policy doesn't apply to the swine flu vaccine.

Front-line health workers at Loyola will be encouraged to get those shots, too, when they become available next month. Tight supplies of the vaccine are preventing it from being mandatory.

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