Representing over 37,000 nurses, the NYS Nurses Association (NYSNA) has spoken out against a new regulation making flu vaccine mandatory for all people who care for patients in health care...including nurses. Under the new regulations, nurses would be mandated to get a seasonal flu shot as a condition of employment. No shot, no work.
My first thought was: how could anyone be against this?! But, after reading the testimony, I can understand it...moreover, there are a number of Ripple Effect points to consider. After reading all the material, I think NYSNA has a number of valid points.
The first point is: Can this be mandated when no current public health emergency exists? The NYSNA is clear that they fully support and encourage nurses to get flu vaccine. Most would agree that getting a flu shot is good preventative action. When working in health care, what rights do you give up? Consider all the issues the military had mandating Anthrax vaccine not too long ago. Keep in mind you can still decline to get a HBV series and work...
I'll be talking about this in detail on the next Mitigation Journal Podcast (Edition 118 expected release 8/3/09). In the meantime - I've talked about the three best things you can do - now - to prepare for biologic events now, without vaccine...you can hear my recommendations on Mitigation Journal Podcast Edition 117.
Below are the links to the NYS Nurses Association press release and testimony.
Medical News Today story: http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=18608016
NYS Nurses Association Press Release: http://www.nysna.org/news/press/072309.htm
NYS Nurses Association full text of testimony delivered by Eileen Avery, MS, RN, Associate Director, NYSNA Education, Practice and Research Program to the State Hospital Review and Planning Council, July 23, 2009, New York, NY.