Lawsuits filed against NY, FDA regarding H1N1 vaccines

By: October 14th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

As many probably expected, a few lawsuits have risen out of the H1N1 vaccination mandate in New York state.

Lorna Patterson and Kathryn Dupuis registered nurse in Albany Medical Center’s emergency room, as well as two other nurses, plan to file a lawsuit against state Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines in order to put and end to the mandate, according to The Times-Union. The nurses attorney Terence L. Kindlon, plans to file the lawsuit this week.

Patterson told the press she does not want to lose her job, but she felt the vaccine was rushed into production without sufficient testing.

The FDA officially cleared the H1N1 vaccine on September 15, after undergoing “the same rigorous FDA manufacturing oversight, product quality testing and lot release procedures that apply to seasonal influenza vaccines,” according to Jesse Goodman, M.D., FDA acting chief scientist.

A similar suit was filed last week in New York City. On behalf of Susan Field, a registered nurse in New York, and 60,000 other healthcare workers in the state, Patricia Finn filed for a temporary restraining order last Tuesday in the State Supreme Court, reports Newsday. The restraining order was filed against Health Commissioner  Richard Daines, M.D.,  and Jeffrey Kraut, chairman of the state’s Hospital Review and Planning Council, which approved the requirement. The hearing is scheduled for today. (See below for update).

Additionally a Bloomberg news report says “Rima Laibow, a physician, nurse Suzanne Field and four other New York residents” have asked a Federal Judge Reggie Walton to bar the approval of the H1N1 vaccine, and order New York to cease mandatory flu vaccinations.

Since New York is the first state to mandate flu shots, there is no legal precedent for this case. It would be surprising to see a federal judge bar an FDA approved vaccine, but it will be especially interesting to see how these lawsuits play out, if indeed they do.

Update: During yesterday’s hearing in Manhattan, attorney Patricia Finn asked Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Diamond to issue a temporary restraining order on mandatory flu vaccines for healthcare workers in New York, on behalf of registered nurse Suzanne Field.

Diamond refused to issue a temporary restraining order, but agreed to hear further arguments on the matter next Thursday where she will consider a preliminary injunction on the mandate.


By Jo Marie Seabrook on October 14th, 2009 at 11:14 am

Why would healthcare professionals protest a vaccine? Do they vaccinate thier children against childhood diseases?
If they allow thier children to be vaccinated why would they not do the same?

By Kirstin Olsen on October 14th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Do you want to involuntarily be injected with SV 40, a viral contaminant that causes metastatic tumors. How about Cytomegalovirus. Maybe Avian Leukemia virus. The FDA has admitted that there is more viral contamination by weight in vaccines than the actual antigenic producing virus-like-particle or attenuated virus (depending on the vaccine). How about squalene, formaldehyde, thimerasol, or huge amounts of aluminum derivatives as adjuvants that cause the glial cells in your brain to mount an immune response on your grey matter. Now, get this injection every years for 35 years while you are a health care professional! Wake up people and do not accept the vaccine nor the anti-viral Tamiflu!

By Kimberly Tancrede R.N. on October 14th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Mandatory vaccines violate a persons rights over their own body. Should we force all other health measures as well? More and more people are being subjected to mandatory vaccinations that can’t guarantee there will be no side effects. Just to attend nursing school, a prospective student is required to have certain vaccines. Personal objection is not sufficient enough to keep “them” from giving you the decision to be vaccinated or there’s the door. Defend America’s right to freedom! Support OUR civil rights!

By Suzanne Hendricks, RN on October 14th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

The H1N1 vaccine is manufactured using the same process as the seasonal flu vaccine; the only difference is the strain of virus in the vaccine. In fact, the CDC has already stated that this strain will be one of (3) strains included in the 2010-11 seasonal influenza vaccine.

By Teresa Marshall RN on October 15th, 2009 at 12:22 am

I don’t think it is right to force health care workers to take a vaccine. I understand the need to protect the public but we also have to think about ourselves. I hate to introduce anything into my body that I don’t have to. I have taken care of patients who developed Guillian Barre patients after getting the flu shot as well as worked with an employee who had his occur. Our hospital recently mandated all employees either submit to the flu vaccine or wear a mask to work from Nov. 1st through March 31st. This at least gives people a choice.

By Scott Wallask, HCPro on October 15th, 2009 at 9:45 am

I’d be interested if there’s anyone reading out there with a law degree who could say definitively whether this is, in fact, a civil rights debate. If a firefighter needs to wear breathing aparatus as part as a condition of employement and refuses because it strains muscles, it seems that he or she could reasonably lose the job — is that the same argument going on with nurses? I’m not sure, but I’d be interested in hearing the legal ins-and-outs of this.

By David LaHoda on October 15th, 2009 at 10:00 am

I’m interested in hearing qualified legal opinions on mandatory flu shots in this space, too. In the meantime here is a link I included in another blog post comment: “Can employers require swine flu shots?”.

If you took care of someone with Guillian Barre after a flu shot, it was years ago and the vaccine is totally different and safe!! I think it is wrong for a healthcare worker to endanger a patient by not protecting them from a possibly fatal illness that could have easily been prevented by one injection.

By Kirstin Olsen on October 15th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

It must be pointed out that when we are vaccinated, we still contract the virus when exposed, we simply mount a quick immune response and don’t get overt symptoms ourselves. HOWEVER, SHOW ME ONE PIECE OF SCIENCE THAT STUDIES WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE THEN “CARRIERS” AS WE GO TO WORK FEELING FINE AND SPREAD THE VIRUS. Just because we have antibodies against a virus does not mean that the virus is not still present in our sweat and respirations. Just one more question that no one bothers to find an answer to. Oh, is that because all research on these issues is controlled by US “alphabet agencies” that are selling sickness and promoting this pandemic from a conflict of interest standpoint. Refuse the vaccine and the anti-viral, both of which encourage mutation or recombination of the virus, and put the entire population at extreme increased risks.

By Kirstin Olsen on October 15th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

As far as qualified legal opinions regarding “mandatory vaccination” why not contact Suzanne Field and her lawyer Patricia Finn. Anyone who thinks that this vaccine is totally different and safe needs to read the short report from the officials themselves in this brand new synopsis of vaccine risk released on OCTOBER 13

By Debbie Clark RRT, MPH on October 15th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

My cousin is a consitutional law attorney in California. This is his comment.
“Any medically invasive procedure that introduces a vaccinated disease CANNOT be constitutionally mandated upon public employees as a condition for employment. To do so would violate the 4th and 12th amendments of the US Constitution and would have a”chilling effect” on the rights of public employees”.

By Kirstin Olsen on October 15th, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Thank you for the above information and we must support all actions that health care professionals take to enforce their rights. I must point out that if a full pandemic is declared by the CDC and the WHO, if a state of emergency were declared, or Marshal law announced, the US Constitution would be “temporarily suspended”.

By Evan Sweeney on October 16th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Yes, a temporary restraining order was issued today, halting mandatory vaccinations for NY healthcare workers. More here. More hearings to come in the next couple weeks.

I would not vaccinate my children with this H1N1 it has only been approved by the FDA since 9/15/09.

By Debbie Clark RRT, MPH on October 16th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

The vaccine was produced the same way the seasonal flu vaccine is produced. If you routinely vaccinate your children eash year for seasonal flu, then why would you hesitate to vaccinate them for H1N1? If anything..I would get the kids vaccinated for the swine flu FIRST, since it is hitting kids and young adults particularly hard.

I’m proud to say I’m an RN and I get vaccinated. What are nurses doing to themselves, other than making the profession look ignorant??- There were no major side effects noted from the H1N1 vaccine, and it is part of the seasonal vaccine this year. Look at the facts folks. Other professions have already moved in on practically every interdisciplinary area that nurses used to do.Is this mindset part of the reason? You do not see the respiratory therapists, teachers, physicians, physical therapists suing to stop flu vaccine. What is it with nurses? More susceptible to rumor and conjecture??

As people can be contagious and spread influenza before they show symptoms, and nurses work with the most vulnerable populations, I do not see the difference between refusing to taking a vaccination that is between 70 and 90% effective, and available in thimerosol free formula, and other risky behaviors that put patients at risk like injecting different individuals with the same needle. Nurses need to work on their approach to evidence based practice.

By Jacci Usack on January 5th, 2013 at 12:24 pm

To Debbie–There is information out there that the risk difference of developing the flu between people who received the flu vaccine and those who didn’t is about 3%. Maybe you need to work on your approach to evidence based practices.


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