NY Health Workers’ Vaccination: Protest over Mandatory Rule (Video, Photos)

September 30, 2009
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With a new mandatory rule in place regarding NY health workers’ vaccination for H1N1 (commonly known as swine flu), many took part in a rally at the state’s capitol in Albany to protest. Find out more below.

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The new regulation, issued by the the New York State Department of Health requires all health care workers, including nurses and doctors, in health facilities including hospitals, out-patient clinics, hospices as well as home health care, to be vaccinated against both seasonal flu as well as the H1N1. New York State thus far is unique in the country for this mandatory ruling.

The rule which requires the workers to undergo the mandatory immunization by November 30, 2009 or lose their jobs has been met with resistance both by individuals as well as by unions, including the The New York State Nurses Association and the Public Employees Federation. New York Newsday quotes a spokesperson for the nurses’ union, Nancy Webber, who states:

“We as an organization have not questioned the safety of the vaccine. “We see this as an issue of workers’ rights.”

Individual health care professionals have made statements to media outlets indicating their concern over safety and efficacy of the H1N1 vaccine, such as Tara Accavallo, a registered nurse at a Stony Brook, NY facility whom Newsday quotes:

“This vaccine has not been clinically tested to the same degree as the regular flu vaccine. If something happens to me, if I get seriously injured from this vaccine, who’s going to help me?”

As CBS News reports, prior to the NY Health Workers’ vaccination rally in Albany, the State Health Commissioner Richard Daines, issued an open letter in defense of the requirement, which states in part:

“We, as health care workers, owe it to our patients and to society in general to demonstrate our confidence in those scientific standards. Even more importantly, we should reconfirm our noble commitment to the tradition of putting patients’ interests first by supporting the mandatory influenza vaccination requirement.”

The above-cited article contains a link to the actual letter and additional links to studies in medical journals, reports on government Web sites, etc. regarding the issue of vaccination and immunization against the H1N1 swine flu.

Several photos and video from the rally at the state capitol can be seen here. Additional video is below. A search on YouTube will reveal numerous additional videos documenting the event. That is the latest on the NY Health Workers’ vaccination rally in Albany protesting a new mandatory ruling.

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