Friday, October 23, 2009

Nurses Association Welcomes Suspension of Mandatory Flu Vaccinations (Press Release)

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nancy Webber, 518.782.9400, ext. 223

Nurses Association Welcomes Suspension of Mandatory Flu Vaccinations

LATHAM, NY, Oct. 23, 2009 — The New York State Nurses Association today welcomed the suspension of the state regulation requiring healthcare workers to receive flu vaccinations.

"We agree that the flu vaccine must first be made available to those who need it most children, young adults, and pregnant women," said Tina Gerardi, RN, chief executive officer of the New York State Nurses Association. "The suspension of this regulation also gives us the opportunity to work with the department to develop an effective program to prevent the spread of influenza in hospitals and other healthcare settings."

NYSNA opposed the mandatory vaccinations as both an infringement on workers' rights and an ineffective means of preventing the transmission of influenza from workers to patients. The association has advocated for voluntary immunization of healthcare personnel, coupled with comprehensive infection control policies and procedures.

To confirm this message to health department officials, the Nurses Association worked to form a coalition of more than 20 unions and occupational safety organizations. That group sent a letter to Commissioner Daines earlier this month urging him to rescind the regulation and work with stakeholders to develop an effective policy to protect both patients and healthcare personnel.

The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.

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