New York Drops Mandatory Flu Shots for Health Care Workers

By Staff Report

Oct. 26, 2009

The state of New York has reversed course on an earlier decision mandating that health care workers receive flu shots, as State Health Commissioner Richard Daines has suspended the requirement.

Earlier, the state’s health department had said all health care workers would need to be vaccinated by November 30.

But demand for the H1N1 vaccine by the state’s health care providers has exceeded supply. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allowed New York to enter actual orders for 146,300 doses of vaccine, while the state’s health care providers have requested more than 1.48 million doses, according to the department.

“Over the last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged that New York would only receive approximately 23 percent of its anticipated vaccine supply by the end of the month,” Gov. David Paterson said in a news release. “As a result, we need to be as resourceful as we can with the limited supplies of vaccine currently coming into the state and make sure that those who are at the highest risk for complications for the H1N1 virus receive the first vaccine being distributed right now in the United States.”

After the mandate had been issued, some nurses in Albany County vowed to fight the rule.

Daines said in a news release that vaccination of health care workers continues to be an important safety measure, and he urged workers to receive both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines.

Filed by Jessica Zigmond of Modern Healthcare, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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