States mandating flu vaccine. State Information.



States mandating flu vaccine

States mandating flu vaccine

How well are doctors, nurses and other workers at your local hospital vaccinated against the flu? That depends on the hospital. Overall, flu vaccination rates among hospital workers climbed significantly in the past several years — from an average of 63 percent during the influenza season to 83 percent during the season, according to the California Department of Public Health.

In various states, health care workers have legally challenged hospital requirements for vaccination on religious and secular grounds. And some unions in California and elsewhere oppose a legal mandate, partly for civil rights reasons. Public health officials themselves have different takes on the legal requirements for hospital workers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists California and Massachusetts among the handful of states where the flu vaccination is mandated for health care workers.

For that reason, officials from those two states said they do not actually consider the vaccine mandatory. Hospitals that achieve a 90 percent or higher flu vaccination rate are exempt from these rules, however. In California, state law requires that hospitals offer the vaccine free of charge. Many hospitals offer vaccines to personnel in the cafeteria, and during day and night shifts.

She also said many California counties and hospitals have required health care workers to either get the flu vaccine or wear a mask, which can help prevent spreading illness to others. Vaccination rates vary significantly among different categories of hospital workers, however. Hospital employees had an average vaccination rate of 87 percent statewide in , while licensed independent practitioners — including some physicians, advance practice nurses and physician assistants who do not receive paychecks from the hospital — had a rate of just 67 percent.

A Canadian study , however, suggests that the benefits of health care worker vaccinations have been overstated. Health officials also encourage patients to ask whether their caregivers are vaccinated.

Jan Emerson-Shea, spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association, said her organization would like the flu vaccine to be mandatory for all health care personnel. Independent physicians have proven an especially challenging group to motivate, she said, since hospitals hold little sway over them.

He said the union does recommend that providers get the vaccine, but it objects to making vaccination a condition of employment. In any case, he said, wearing the masks is not especially effective in stopping the spread of flu although some researchers say otherwise.

Instead, he said, employees should be encouraged to wash hands and to stay home when they are sick. Too often, he said, nurses are asked to come in to work when they are ill. He said he was not able to find any nurses willing to discuss their decision not to get the flu shot. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Why flu vaccines should be mandatory



States mandating flu vaccine

How well are doctors, nurses and other workers at your local hospital vaccinated against the flu? That depends on the hospital. Overall, flu vaccination rates among hospital workers climbed significantly in the past several years — from an average of 63 percent during the influenza season to 83 percent during the season, according to the California Department of Public Health.

In various states, health care workers have legally challenged hospital requirements for vaccination on religious and secular grounds. And some unions in California and elsewhere oppose a legal mandate, partly for civil rights reasons. Public health officials themselves have different takes on the legal requirements for hospital workers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists California and Massachusetts among the handful of states where the flu vaccination is mandated for health care workers. For that reason, officials from those two states said they do not actually consider the vaccine mandatory.

Hospitals that achieve a 90 percent or higher flu vaccination rate are exempt from these rules, however. In California, state law requires that hospitals offer the vaccine free of charge. Many hospitals offer vaccines to personnel in the cafeteria, and during day and night shifts.

She also said many California counties and hospitals have required health care workers to either get the flu vaccine or wear a mask, which can help prevent spreading illness to others. Vaccination rates vary significantly among different categories of hospital workers, however.

Hospital employees had an average vaccination rate of 87 percent statewide in , while licensed independent practitioners — including some physicians, advance practice nurses and physician assistants who do not receive paychecks from the hospital — had a rate of just 67 percent. A Canadian study , however, suggests that the benefits of health care worker vaccinations have been overstated. Health officials also encourage patients to ask whether their caregivers are vaccinated.

Jan Emerson-Shea, spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association, said her organization would like the flu vaccine to be mandatory for all health care personnel.

Independent physicians have proven an especially challenging group to motivate, she said, since hospitals hold little sway over them. He said the union does recommend that providers get the vaccine, but it objects to making vaccination a condition of employment.

In any case, he said, wearing the masks is not especially effective in stopping the spread of flu although some researchers say otherwise. Instead, he said, employees should be encouraged to wash hands and to stay home when they are sick. Too often, he said, nurses are asked to come in to work when they are ill. He said he was not able to find any nurses willing to discuss their decision not to get the flu shot.

It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. The story must be told. Your subscription supports journalism that matters.

States mandating flu vaccine

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