In most states, the individual hospitals set the policies."We had noticed places where we haven't been making progress in terms of workers getting the shots,'' says Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Public Health."From the integrity of professional practice, to put patient care first, we thought this was a reasonable requirement.Unlike patients who have a choice about getting the flu shot, many health care workers didn't have a say this year.
Their argument: They have medical or religious reasons or doubt the effectiveness of the vaccine.
The employers' response: They have a responsibility to protect the health of patients and co-workers who need to stay healthy."It's not your inalienable right to not get a vaccine if you're helping care for vulnerable patients,'' says Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
By Katie Booth This November, voters weighed in on an array of state ballot initiatives on health issues from medical marijuana to health care reform.
Ballot outcomes by state are listed below (more after the jump).
The CDC says one to two people in a million suffer a severe reaction.
Higgins doesn't want to take the risk again and will have to follow her hospital's policy to wear a surgical mask in the future or risk losing her job."I think the hospitals need to do more to prevent the spread of flu, though,'' she says.
Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Americans 6 months and older get a flu shot, only 63% of all health care workers had gotten the vaccine as of November (latest survey results) compared with about 40% of the public.
The CDC reports findings that vaccines among the health care work force help reduce patient fatalities and aims to have 90% compliance for health care workers by 2020.
Voters in Alabama, Montana, and Wyoming passed initiatives expressing disapproval of the Affordable Care Act, while a similar initiative in Florida garnered a majority of the vote but failed to pass under the state’s supermajority voting requirement.
Missouri voters passed a ballot initiative prohibiting the state executive branch from establishing a health insurance exchange, leaving this task to the federal government or state legislature.
"If Rhode Island health care workers skip the vaccine, they are required to wear a surgical mask on the job.