How to Sidestep Hospital Flu Shot Mandates
The union also argues that "issues such as vaccination supply and efficacy make it such that the vaccine cannot be relied upon to exclusively provide adequate protection from the flu virus."
In its written policy provided to HealthLeaders Media, the American Nurses Association "urges all registered nurses to get vaccinated every year to protect themselves, their families, and the patients they serve." However, it "does not support mandatory influenza vaccination requirements for healthcare workers unless they adhere to certain guidelines to ensure they are fair, equitable and nondiscriminatory."
The ANA believes a mandate should be implemented only if:
- The mandatory policy comes from the highest level of legal authority, ideally state government
- Suitable exemptions, such as for those allergic to components of the vaccine, are included
- Discriminating against or disciplining nurses who choose not to participate is prohibited
- The policy is part of a comprehensive infection control program that includes personal protective equipment, such as N95 respirators, to increase safety
- Vaccinations are free and provided at convenient times and locations to foster compliance
- The employer negotiates with worker union representatives to resolve any differences when the policy is implemented at a health care facility
But voluntary measures don't seem to work as well. According to the CDC, "during the 2010-2011 influenza season, coverage for influenza vaccination among healthcare workers was estimated at 63.5%." However, "coverage was 98.1% among healthcare workers who had an employer requirement for vaccination."
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