Health care workers resisting state mandated flu vaccinations should make what is admittedly a tough call and put the interests of patients and the public ahead of their personal concerns and get inoculated.
That's the best way to ensure that vulnerable patients won't be unnecessarily exposed to the seasonal and swine flus. And if the number of swine flu cases increases dramatically, it would help ensure that hospitals, clinics and home care services have healthy staff to meet the emergency.
New York is alone in requiring that health workers get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. The fraction of workers balking don't want their preferences and concerns about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine overruled by officials. But it comes with the turf.
Vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella are mandatory. And while the H1N1 vaccine was put through clinical trials quickly, flu vaccines have a good safety record. Both the Public Employees Federation, which represents nurses, and the New York State Nurses Association recommend taking the vaccines - they just want it to be voluntary. The nursing association believes officials are relying too much on mandatory vaccinations. Officials should address this concern by making sure that facility infection-control efforts are comprehensive.
But health care workers should follow doctor's orders - in this case New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines - and get vaccinated.hN