Flu Vaccines Required at Kaiser Permanente

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Flu Vaccines Required at Kaiser Permanente

By Working Nurse
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Back in 2006, California led the nation in passing legislation requiring hospitals to offer flu vaccines to all healthcare employees. Now, a major private healthcare employer, Kaiser Permanente, is following suit, requiring annual flu vaccinations for all 105,000 of its hospital employees nationwide.

New Contract

The vaccination requirement, which will affect about 5,700 Kaiser employees in California, is part of a new three-year contract recently ratified by Kaiser Permanente and 28 hospital unions. Covered employees will be offered free influenza vaccinations whenever the flu season officially starts in their region — typically in October. Echoing the California law, employees who refuse the vaccination must do so in writing and must wear face masks when in direct patient contact
during flu season.

A Growing Trend

According to the Sacramento Bee, California is one of only 13 states that currently require or recommend that all healthcare workers get an annual flu shot. In 2013–14, most of the state’s healthcare workforce accepted the shots, which is in keeping with the CDC’s recommendation that anyone over the age of six months receive annual flu vaccinations via either injection or nasal spray.

Mandatory vaccination laws are not universally popular and sometimes face considerable resistance from hospitals, unions and other groups. However, influenza and pneumonia together represent the eighth most frequent cause of death in the United States and flu season exacts an even higher toll in lost productivity, costing about 111 million workdays and $7 billion each year.   

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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