New York suspends flu shot mandate for health care employees

The mandatory influenza immunization requirement for New York health care workers was suspended Oct. 22 so that the limited vaccine supplies can be used for populations most at risk of serious illness and death — especially pregnant women and people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years.

“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 A. Paterson said. “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 from the H1N1 flu receive the first vaccine being distributed right now in New York state.”

State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines added, “The vaccination of health care workers continues to be an important patient safety measure, and I urge hospitals and other health care facilities to encourage employees to be vaccinated against the flu and to schedule flu clinics for that purpose when enough seasonal and H1N1 vaccine becomes available.”