Should Health-Care Workers Be Required to Get a Flu Shot?

About half of health care workers usually go without a flu shot. That increases the risk that they’ll get the flu, and pass the disease on to patients. Requiring those who come into regular contact with patients to get vaccinated would surely reduce the problem, but would making the shots mandatory for workers violate their rights?

That debate is now playing out in at least two states.

The Washington State Hospital Association wants the state to make flu shots mandatory for health-care workers, the Seattle Times reports today.

The Washington State Nurses Association has previously fought an individual hospital’s requirement that made flu vaccine mandatory for all employees. An official at the union told the Times that the group would support statewide a push for vaccinations, if the rule included certain provisions, including protection for workers who opt out of getting vaccinated.

New York State issued a rule this summer requiring hospital, hospice and home-health workers to get vaccinated for both seasonal and swine (H1N1) flu. The New York State Nurses Association is fighting the rule, arguing that nurses should have the right to refuse the vaccine.

Have your say: Should health-care workers be required to get a flu shot?

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