The emergency rule requiring nearly all healthcare workers in New York State to get flu vaccinations has been filed with the Secretary of State and is in effect for at least the coming flu season.
The regulation affects all healthcare personnel, 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 does not affect nursing home personnel; an immunization mandate for them would have to be enacted through legislation.
The regulation covers includes all medical staff, contract staff, and students who either have direct patient contact or contact with employees closely working with patients or residents. Healthcare personnel will be exempt from vaccination only if a physician or nurse practitioner certifies that it is medically contraindicated for that individual.
While the New York State Nurses Association recommends that nurses choose to be immunized for the flu, it opposes mandatory immunizations. In testimony delivered to the SHRPC Codes and Regulations Committee on July 23, we cautioned that, by itself, this extreme measure will not prevent the spread of the influenza virus in hospitals.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 36,000 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.