It is the position of NVIC that no health care worker should be forced to have to choose between a vaccine and their job. The right to informed consent to any medical procedure that has the ability to cause injury or death, including vaccination, is a right that nobody should have to give up to retain their employment.
There is plenty of medical and ethical support for this position that health care employers should be aware of when considering radical policy changes.
Here is a link to a recent commentary written by our president of NVIC, Barbara Loe Fisher:
Forcing Flu Shots on Health Care Workers: Who Is Next?
as well as to a bullet point fact sheet that is full citations to well documented references:
Why Influenza Vaccine Mandates are Ineffective & Unwise Public Policy
OSHA does not support mandatory flu vaccine for healthcare workers. According to their statement, OSHA believes there is insufficient scientific evidence for the federal government to promote mandatory influenza vaccination programs that do not have an option for the HCP to decline for medical, religious and/or personal philosophical reasons.
See page 25 Appendix B: OSHA Position Statement: http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/nvac/meetings/pastmeetings/nvac_meeting201109_certified-minutes.pdf
Below is a link to blog entry by a physician, Michael B. Edmond, MD, MPH, MPA, who is not only the Chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the VCU School of Medicine, his research focuses on the epidemiology of healthcare-associated infections and the public policy implications of infection control. He has published 300 papers, abstracts and book chapters, and co-moderates a blog entitled Controversies in Hospital Infection Prevention. He clearly states in the link below that the evidence for mandating flu vaccines for healthcare workers is lacking. He also gives the research references to back this up. Every hospital system considering risking losing good employees by requiring the flu vaccine as a condition of employment should take strong note of Dr. Edmond’s clear stance against this type of policy.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons is opposed to mandatory flu vaccines for healthcare workers. Below is a link to a press release concerning the Colorado mandate.
It is really important for patients to know how much better their care will be in a setting where healthcare workers are allowed to be advocates for their own health. Otherwise how can they be advocates for anyone else?
As this issue continues to surface in health care settings around the country, it is likely there will be even more lawsuits like this one:
To find out if there are any coodinated efforts in your state to protect your right as a health care worker to refuse a vaccine, please go to our home page, register for the NVIC Advocacy Portal, and check your state page.