Swine flu vaccine
Judge Halts Flu Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers
New York Health Care Employees Won't Be Forced To Get H1N1 Vaccine...For
Oct 16, 2009 12:23 pm US/Eastern
State Supreme Court judge issued a restraining order Friday against the state
from enforcing the controversial mandatory vaccination.
Three parties – the Public Employees Federaion, New York State United Teachers,
and an attorney representing four Albany nurses – challenged the order and for
now the vaccination for nurses, doctors, aides, and non-medical staff members
who might be in a patient's room will remain voluntary.
New York was the first state in the country to initially mandate flu
vaccinations for its health care workers, but many health care workers quickly
protested against the ruling. In Hauppauge, workers outside a local clinic
screamed "No forced shots!" when the mandate came down at the end of September.
"I don't even tend to the sick. I am in the nutrition field. They are telling me
I must get the shot because I work in a health clinic setting," said Paula
Small, a Women, Infants and Children health care worker.
Small said she would refuse to be vaccinate, worried the vaccine is untested and
unproven, leaving her vulnerable. In 1976, there were some deaths associated
with a swine flu vaccination.
Registered nurse Frank Mannino, 50, was also angry. He said the state regulation
violates his personal freedom and civil rights.
"And now I will lose my job if I don't take the regular flu shot or the swine
When asked if he's willing to lose his job, Mannino said, "Absolutely. I will
not take it, will not be forced. This is still America."
The protest also shook Albany. Hundreds of demonstrators demanded freedom of
choice. After all, as health care professionals, they argue they're already
constantly washing their hands and aren't likely to transmit or contract the
Around 500,000 health care workers would have been slated to receive the vaccine
"It's certainly their prerogative to voice their opinion," said Dr. Susan
Donelan of Stony Brook University Hospital.
Donelan said most in the medical community see the benefits and safety of the
shots and welcome them, and that hospitals must obey the law.
"Our hospital is committed to following the mandate to have our personnel
vaccinated," she said.
The state said change was needed this year to save lives. Typically only about
45 percent of health care workers take advantage of voluntary flu vaccines.
More than 150 institutional outbreaks of seasonal and H1N1 flu are expected this
year in hospitals, nursing homes and hospice centers.
There is also a strong resistance to the vaccine from the general public. A new
Harvard University poll shows that only four in 10 adults intend to take the
vaccine themselves, and only six in 10 plan to give it to their children.