The New York State Department of Health has adopted an emergency regulation that requires nearly all healthcare workers in New York State to be vaccinated for influenza by Nov. 30. It includes both the seasonal flu vaccine and the novel H1N1 vaccine.
The rule affects healthcare personnel (HCP), both paid and unpaid, who interact with patients in hospitals, diagnostic and treatment centers, certified home health agencies, long-term healthcare programs, AIDS home care programs, licensed home care services, and hospices. It also includes students who enter hospitals for clinical training. It does not affect those who work in nursing homes or private medical offices.
Personnel will be exempt from this requirement only if a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, nurse midwife, or licensed midwife certifies that it is medically contraindicated.
The New York State Nurses Association supports immunization as an effective way to reduce the risk of contracting the flu, but we also support the rights of registered professional nurses to choose whether or not they wish to be vaccinated.
Influenza immunizations are not 100% effective, unlike the vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Vaccinations alone do not guarantee patient safety. Voluntary influenza vaccinations should be part of a comprehensive infection prevention plan that includes education, effective hygiene practices, and proper personal protective equipment; coupled with work practices and administrative controls designed to stop the spread of the infection.
The NYS Department of Health (DOH) call center: 800.808.1987 is available for questions concerning seasonal and H1N1 influenza vaccinations; healthcare professionals should use option #2.
NYSNA Hotline - For questions or concerns; calls are answered as soon as possible; NYSNA members receive priority:
E-mail inquiries also may be sent to NYSNA.