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Today's THV At Noon: Nurses File Lawsuit Over H1N1 Vaccine

  Jessica Ponder   []

The Washington State Nurses Association says its nurses shouldn't be forced to get flu shots. Now, the union says it's filed a federal lawsuit against MultiCare Health System.

At issue is a new hospital policy requiring nurses to get vaccinated, wear a mask, or risk getting fired. MultiCare Health System, which runs Tacoma General Hospital and several others, is asking all nurses to get vaccinated for both the seasonal and swine flu. The state nurses union files a lawsuit to block the policy.

"We're nurses. We believe we should get shots. Absolutely. And we have been Involved in promoting that. We don't believe that people should be forced to," says Barbara Frye with the Washington State Nurses Association.

"Enforced medical treatment is an assault and a violation of the 14th Amendment," Frye said.

Some visitors to Tacoma General say they want nurses to get the shot. "If it keeps me from catching a bug, I think it should be required because they Have to deal with the public," says Heath McQueen.

Prior to the seeing the lawsuit, MultiCare issues this statement. "Our first priority is patient safety. We developed our flu policy to protect Our patients, visitors and staff during this heightened flu season."

Across the country the debate rages. Health care workers in New York required to get vaccinated, rallied against the law.

Health experts say, whether it's required or not, health care workers should be among the first to be vaccinated.

"So, speaking to my colleagues, I want to say one important message: I'm sorry, but it's not about you. It is about the patients that you are privileged to care for and it's about protecting them," said Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic.

In today's C-Block we want to know what you think. Should they be required to get vaccinated? Is it a violation of their rights? Send us an e-mail to Cblock@Todaysthv.com.