Some nurses in New York state are preparing to fight a state mandate that requires health care workers to receive the flu vaccine this year.
Four nurses announced their plan after they were told they would lose their jobs in November if they did not get the vaccine, according to Terry Kindlon, an Albany, New York-area lawyer representing them.
The nurses expect to hold a rally and file their suit next week in Albany County, he said.
“The commissioner is attempting to enforce a rule that is in excess of his authority,” he said.
Organizations are also considering lawsuits, and the groups are considering consolidating their efforts, he added.
Last month State Health Commissioner Richard Daines, a physician, released an open letter to health workers in the state, saying the mandate would apply to the annual seasonal flu vaccine and the new H1N1 vaccine when it is available. Because of limited supply of the new vaccine, vulnerable patient populations have been targeted to receive it first, Daines said.
By ensuring that workers are vaccinated, health care providers can help protect all patients that do not have access to the H1N1 vaccine, Daines said in his letter.
“Safety lies in being treated in institutions and by health care personnel with the nearly 100 percent effective immunity rates seen with other long-mandated vaccinations for health care workers, such as measles and rubella,” he wrote.