NY healthcare workers under the gun for flu shots
Healthcare workers in New York may be required to get immunized for seasonal and H1N1 influenza in the next few months.
The NY State Hospital Review and Planning Council (SHRPC) has approved an emergency regulation requiring influenza vaccinations for healthcare personnel, reports the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS).
The emergency regulation would become effective when filed with the NY Department of State and would apply to “all personnel working in hospitals, diagnostic and treatment centers, certified home health agencies, long-term home health care programs, acquired immune deficiency syndrome home care programs, licensed home care service agencies, and hospices,” reports HANYS. Regulations applying to nursing home personnel would require action by the state legislature.
Departmental of Health officials have said the regulation could also apply to the H1N1 vaccine series if it becomes available and there are sufficient supplies, according to the HANYS release.
Exemption from the mandate would apply to workers with medical contraindications, who have no patient contact, or only incidental contact with direct-care staff members, and exemptions would require documentation.
The New York State Nurses Association, which strongly supports increased flu shot education and vaccination rates among the profession, opposes the action because of its mandatory nature.
In 2006 the Washington State Nurses Association successfully beat back an attempt by Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle that required all nurse to be vaccinated for seasonal influenza.
The situation in New York, however, is different in that it is state initiated.
For influenza pandemic plans and an influenza vaccination declination form, go to the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Tools page.
Are mandatory measures the only sure-fire way to increase influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers? Is the H1N1 threat this fall enough of a reason to resort to emergency regulations? Would you comply to keep your job? Let us know in the comment section below.