March doesn’t mean flu season is over. In fact, nurses need to remain vigilant about infection control precautions in early spring.
Many wonder if it’s too late to get vaccinated. The answer is a clear no. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that flu vaccine should continue to be offered to unvaccinated people throughout the flu season as long as it is available. As flu season often continues through April or May, a flu shot in March can protect you for a few months.
NYSNA offers a 2012 edition of its Influenza Toolkit, developed by a NYSNA task force. It provides RNs with information about the nature of influenza, vaccines, and best practices to protect patients and staff from infection. It can be used by nursing leaders or health and safety committees to present in a group setting.
The 2012 Toolkit includes:
NYSNA believes nurses have an ethical obligation not only to protect themselves, but to protect patients and families from influenza. It supports the CDC’s recommendation that everyone six months or older, including healthcare workers, should be immunized annually, unless there is a valid contraindication.
But NYSNA does not support mandatory immunization as a condition of employment. Any legislation that addresses influenza vaccination for healthcare workers should encourage facilities to implement a comprehensive influenza infection control program, which includes providing free voluntary vaccination.
For questions or suggestions about these materials, contact NYSNA’s Education, Practice and Research program at 518.782.9400, ext. 282.