Paramedics On the Job - Without Flu Shots


                            Toronto paramedics who defy provincial legislation requiring them to get a flu shot will still be allowed to work - for now.  In an article which appeared in the Toronto Star, Bruce Farr, director of EMS operations, said.``It does not serve us or the community for me to go in (today)  and lay off 30 or 40 paramedics."    ``I want to keep all my paramedics on the street.''   Today marks the second deadline Toronto's ambulance service has set - and extended - for the city's 754 paramedics to get a flu shot.  

It doesn't matter how many more deadlines Roberta Scott is given, she said  she won't get a flu shot.    Scott is one 40 Toronto paramedics who still haven't had their flu shot. She doesn't believe it works and is worried about the cumulative effects the mercury and formaldehyde in the shot may have on her body.     ``I don't want to take those risks with my health for something which I don't  think is effective and my body can fight off on its own,'' Scott, 38, director of media relations for the Toronto Paramedic Association, said.

The Ambulance Act was amended in May requiring the province's 5,000 paramedics get the shot. Scott is angry that legislation is trying to take away her right to choose what goes in her body. She says it's unfair that paramedics were singled out when the flu shot isn't mandatory for doctors or nurses.    The legislation was designed to protect both paramedics and the community from transmitting the flu.  Paramedics who still haven't had a shot will be interviewed, given more  information on the health benefits of the flu shot and about the legislation. But once that process is over - Farr couldn't say when that would be -            ambulance management will have to comply with the government legislation  and that means that paramedics who still refuse to take the shot will not be  allowed to work.