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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2 Comments on Home Health Care and the Flu Shot, the Debate!

  1. Madonna Jaeger says:

    I think that health-care workers should be allowed to make their own decisions about the flu shot. We prefer to take a different approach to fighting the flu than getting a shot every year. My family is typically very healthy. As a family of six, we have no prescription medications, and we use so few over-the-counter drugs that they usually expire before they can be used up. None of us have had the flu for at least 10 years. We do take nutrition supplements daily. We are doing all that we can with those to build up our immune systems and stay well. Flu shots are a good thing and crucial for the well-being of many people. If I believed that the shot would make a big difference for me or my family, I would get it. At this point, I don’t see that it will.

  2. Agreed…our family is the same way. Dan