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WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) -
Waterbury Hospital is making it clear to all its employees that they need to get a flu shot or they will lose their jobs.
As of Monday, there were 75 health care workers at Waterbury Hospital on un-paid suspension for refusing to get a flu shot, according to hospital officials. And if they continue to resist, they will be fired.
The workers' union representative told Eyewitness News if the hospital continues not to budge on the issue, they will strike.
One of those employees is Karen McKinnon, who has been officially suspended for two weeks from her job as a surgical assistant at Waterbury Hospital.
On Monday, A cardboard sign was planted on her lawn that said "freedom." McKinnon told Eyewitness News she's taking a stand and not getting a flu shot, even if it means risking her job.
"I'm very concerned about taking this vaccine," McKinnon said. "I don't want someone sticking a needle in my arm that I don't want. And it's just a violation of rights."
This controversial policy has many of you speaking out on both sides, on Channel 3's Facebook page.
"Freedom to choose just like the patients themselves have the freedom to choose if they want to get the immunization," Isabelle Jarzabek wrote.
"Definitely, I think this should be mandatory for all healthcare employees," Tina Zwick wrote. "If they get sick everyone else gets sick too."
Waterbury Hospital spokesperson said it's a new policy put into effect this year, which requires all employees and vendors to get the shot. More than 90 percent of employees complied, and officials said it's done to protect the patients.
At Saint Mary's hospital, the other major hospital in Waterbury, a spokesperson said they have a similar policy. Several other Connecticut hospitals require all employees to get the flu vaccine.
McKinnon said she feels threatened. The hospital workers union has submitted filed an unfair labor charge against Waterbury Hospital. So far, the union rep said both have been ignored.
"Just taking it a day at time and see what happens," McKinnon said
The deadline to get the flu shot at Waterbury Hospital is Dec. 15 or the staff will lose their jobs.
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