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Thursday

CDC: Vaccine not a requirement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that it would not endorse mandated flu vaccine for health care workers. The CDC states:
"In 2009, CDC posted on its Web site Interim Guidance on Infection Control Measures for 2009 H1N1 Influenza in Healthcare Settings, Including Protection of Healthcare Personnel. At the time it was posted, uncertainties existed regarding the novel H1N1 influenza strain, and the vaccine was not yet widely available. As stated in that document, CDC planned to update the guidance when new information became available. Since then, circumstances have changed. A safe and effective vaccine has become widely available, and is being included in the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine. Further, we now have information about the number of cases of disease, hospitalizations, and deaths caused by 2009 H1N1, which can be compared to historical seasonal influenza data. At this point, an update of the guidance to address current circumstances is warranted..." Click here for the full text of the statement from CDC...pay close attention to the definition of healthcare settings and healthcare personnel...
Although it sounded like a common sense thing to do, mandating flu vaccine for all health care workers caused quite a bit of debate. In fact, the NYS Nurses Association came out hard against the requirement while many health care facilities threatened discipline or termination of any provider who refused to be vaccinated.  See my post NYS Nurses Association Opposes Mandates for Vaccine for more on this topic. EMS and other traditional responder groups were left in limbo, at the whim of the situation...do EMS personnel who are in and out of various hospitals meet the requirement for mandated vaccine? Nobody knew for sure. Despite it all there was not enough vaccine to go around.  

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